Kiva is an organisation which works with micro-finance organisations all over the world to provide loans to help people move forwards with their ideas and businesses. Essentially, several people, sometimes many, pool their money to extend a loan to a person or group they select from the Kiva website.
I made my first Kiva loan in 2011 of 25 USD to a group in Viet Nam, the second was to a sewing services, the third was to a man in Kenya, looking to build his motorbike transportation business. I won’t deny my love of motorbiking played a part in that last one. However, this has been that same 25 USD going around, so I’ve added another 25 USD (as well as a small donation to Kiva itself) and made two more small loans this time around.The first new loan is to another Kenyan motorbike transportation chap, and the second is to a Balinese crafts family. This latter one is the first time then that I’ve lent money into a country I’ve actually been to.
This brings my money-lent level in total to 125 USD, well below the Kiva average of 333USD. One must try harder. Kiva knows this and provides plenty of statistics and badges on your portfolio in the hope it might make you want to cover that last country you haven’t lent into yet.
It’s worth remembering that this is a loan, not a donation, and many recipients are looking to build businesses, or better themselves for their communities, and unlike a donation, you stand a very good chance (98%+) of getting your money back to loan it out again, or even take it out of Kiva.
Give it a try then. I have to say it’s quite inspirational reading about some of the ideas people have for businesses and how to better their lives in other ways, such as via trying to fund further education.