Review: Kiva.org

Hey everybody:

So I was making a new loan tonight, and realized I haven’t said anything about Kiva.org on my blog yet! That is a heinous oversight that has to be remedied immediately.

I’ve been partnering with Kiva loans since 2009, when I first put in some money for a loan to a woman in Cambodia who runs a grocery store. Just the idea was so amazing that I was hooked instantly. It was almost beyond my imagination that $25 would go far enough where she lived to help put extra stock on her store shelves, and get the door on her house fixed. All that needed to happen on my end was to ease up on buying used books for a month, and maybe go without a couple other things.

The coolest part is that once I made about three or four loans the money started to recirculate itself. See, you CAN lend more, but the average amount is $25. So, as each business owner made payments, some of the funds came back to me. They sat in my Kiva portfolio as credit, waiting to go back out. Every time my inbox level reached $30 (to cover the $3 lending fee), I would send it back out to someone else. At this point, it’s like microenterprise owners around the world are lending to each other, using me and Kiva as a go-between!

Here are some screenshots from my Kiva accounts page. First, a quick overlook at my loan status:

Next, a look at how my loans break down by the gender of people I’m lending to:

Now the loans are broken down by what type of business people are in:

And lastly, a look at loans by country:

I would strongly encourage people who may not have thought about this concept to check out www.kiva.org and give serious thought to making a loan part of your giving experience.

As you can see, I’ve mostly been loaning to women. A good part of that reasoning came from studies about microenterprise I’ve read. They have found that when the lives and resources of women in different countries are strengthened, their whole communities benefit. Lately I’ve also been thinking about targeting loans to the Middle East. I mean, we’ve gone in and really bombed that area to bits. Don’t I have an obligation as an American to help rebuild it by empowering the people who live there?

If I had one wish with Kiva, it would be the ability to further target loans. I would like to be able to loan to other transgender people. Now, there are some countries where it’s just not possible to be out. But there have to be some places where having access to microenterprise could really improve the lives of transgender people.

But regardless, I am going to keep partnering with Kiva, because good work gets done there, and I’ve never seen $25 do so much! Do look into it folks.

Make A Loan At Kiva!

UPDATE:¬† I tested out the link Kiva provided me with. It’s not a certain number of free loans per lender. Kiva set a goal of a certain number of free loans total, and those have already run out. But you can still follow the link at the bottom. I still encourage everyone to get involved with Kiva. I’ve never been so satisfied spending $25.

 

For those who don’t know, Kiva.org is a nonprofit that loans money to people all over the world for microenterprise business support. These loans have a phenomenal effect on global poverty, especially when given to women. Several people chip in $25 each, and someone you would never even know about any other way gets a chance to make their lives more economically sound. This has an impact on the community around them. Here’s one story:

In a small city, men were being paid horribly low wages as day laborers. Some of the local women got a micro loan and went into business to help make ends meet. As they grew, some of their husbands quit day labor to come work in the business with their wives. This had the effect of creating a shortage in the labor pool, which lead to higher wages for the men who stayed there to work. Folks in other cities who supplied them with materials also enjoyed an increased standard of living, and they spent money in their community.

Micro loans have effects far beyond just helping one person or a family get on their feet.

So far I’ve loaned money to the following people:

Mrs. Kouy in Cambodia got a $500 loan to expand her grocery store and repair her front door. I was part of that. She has repaid it in full, which I figure means she is attaining her goals of continued success.

Dona Del Carmen lives in Leon, Nicaragua. She has run a beauty salon out of her home for nine years, and asked for a $325 loan to buy more basic supplies to help her expand. She is almost fully done repaying her loan, so I am again assuming her salon is continuing to grow strong.

Tonight for the first time, I made a loan to a guy. Mr. Sob lives in Reussey Keo, Cambodia. He is asking for a loan of $1,100 to help start his electrician business. His plan seems solid, and I feel like he’s a good risk. As of tonight he is 100% fully funded, so now his journey begins.

Now it’s YOUR turn.¬†Just follow this link: http://kiva.org/invitedby/lincoln7482 Kiva is giving people the chance to make their first $25 loan absolutely FREE! I have a total of 8,000 invites to give out. Hurry up and get on board now!