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.