Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Kiva - a helpful addiction that could change a life

Have you heard about Kiva?  No it's another another monthly subscription, although you could make it into one and that would be a great thing.  Kiva is a non-profit organization that connects people through micro-lending.  Yes, I said lending. I know this doesn't sound like it's going to be a fun topic but here me out.  I'll  be quick. 

The short story is Kiva works with micro-lending institutions on five continents to provide loans to people who don't have access to traditional banking systems.  Say a baker in Samoa needs a loan to purchase more supplies for her German Bun business.  She asks for a loan for $350 with a promise to pay it back within 14 months.  You can lend her any amount you want between $25-$350 and every month you will get a portion of your loan back until the whole amount you loaned is paid off.  This baker gets the needed supplies for her business and you helped.  How awesome is that!  This was an actual loan I made back in May 2009.  The $350 was funded by 10 of us and she repaid every cent back.  I often wonder how her business if faring. 

I have been lending through Kiva since February 2008.  I started with $25 out of my pocket then when that was repaid I re-loaned it to someone else and continued with that cycle.  I have made 15 loans for a total of $325 with only about $100-$125 of actual out of pocket money.  In the last 4.5 years 2 of my loans defaulted with a loss of $21.72 and $10.07 currency exchange loss on another loan. So there is some risk involved but the amount I've lost in minimal compared to amount of people I've helped.   

The fun thing about Kiva is you can narrow down who, where or what type of business you want to loan to.  You can select by gender, location, industry or attributes.  Looking for a female in Kenya who wants money for her chicken farm? Lend to Anne, she is currently asking for $500 to add chickens to her corn and bean farm.

For me lending money is just as addicting as subscription services.  I make it fun and tell people I have a grocery store in Paraguay, a bakery is Samoa, a dairy farm in Kenya, a textile business in Tongo and even a child care business in the U.S. (yes you can even loan to people in the U.S.). Of course I don't "have" these businesses but I like to think my $25 helped play a small role in helping these entrepreneurs expand and grow their business. 

If you have an extra $25 and want to help a small business grow give Kiva a try.  You may just help change a life. 

5 comments:

  1. Haha you're funny! I guess I've got some businesses in the Phillipines then. :-P I'm really glad you talked about Kiva - it's totally worth doing, even if you never put in more than $25. I love that it helps people grow their small businesses and it's not just charity.

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    1. Congrats on your businesses in the Phillipines! Ha Ha. Kiva is great, I love picking my new business ventures.

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  2. I signed up using your link, what a great idea, thanks for posting!

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    1. awesome! I would love to hear about your new business venture if you don't mind sharing.

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  3. A BIG THANK YOU to Salena, Nicole and Jordyn for using my Kiva link to make a loan. That is so awesome! Kiva is so much fun, you'll love it!

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