Be Part of Positive Change and Create the World You Want
Kiva.org is a charity focused on creating tangible and long lasting positive change for individuals and communities trapped in the poverty cycle by making available mico-loans funded by people like you and me.
They are about putting an end to poverty by empowering individuals and groups by working with microfinancing groups (field partners) around the world. It's the field partners that do all the ground work, have the local knowledge and the clients that benefit from the Kiva loans.
The loans start at just $US25 and are for an average of six months to a year. When the investment money is paid back you can withdraw your money, donate it to Kiva to cover operational costs or have the repeat enjoyment of investing it again and seeing the positive change that is being created by backing a micro-preneur, a woman who is working hard and smart to get herself and her family out of poverty.
Kiva has a 1% default rate and over 97% on-time repayment rate that is the envy of all financial lenders around the world. A small interest rate is charged to the borrower to cover the costs of providing the loan by the field partner and the investors receive their initial investment funds back but no interest income. Kiva is a charity, not an investment bank to make money for the investors.
Kiva's statistics are impressive and updated online daily with over nearly half a million people having funded a Kiva loan since it launched in 2005, with nearly the same number of entrepreneurs who have received a loan through Kiva, over 80% of the loans are made to women and the average Kiva lender makes over 6 loans.
Consistently across the world it's been found that women make ideal micro-preneurs and borrowers as there is a real passion and motivation to support themselves and their families, to get a better education for their children and to create financial security that's secure in their own independence; whether they are married, divorced or single.
Kiva's also been clever with how it's making it so easy for us to provide the investment funds - simply by using PayPal. This effective strategy makes it completely easy for private individuals and businesses to participate in taking direct action against poverty and being part of positive change. Through Kiva you know your money is going directly to those who will make the most from it rather than getting caught up in the politics of corrupt governments.
You can choose who you fund, the types of projects and how much you invest via the Kiva connection online venue. Each entrepreneur has a page with their photo, details of their project, the specifics of the loan and information about the field partner. You can choose who you'll back based on whatever appeals to you the most. For She Inspires first micro-preneur we've supporting a lady from Bolivia who is seeking her first loan to help grow her business.
It can be a bit like choosing a World Vision child at the stand up at the shops - very hard - I had my World Vision child chosen for me by the person volunteering at the stall with the criteria it be a girl and the hardest one for them to place because the prospect of choosing was daunting. I've been exceptionally happy being a World Vision mum and love the concept of being part of the positive change that's possible in our world.
So if you're having trouble choosing who to support on Kiva there's a handy 'Pick for me' button and Kiva does the picking for you - all very easy (and quite fun).
On the Kiva loan page you can also select a criteria for showing loan requests from the left hand navigation, a handy tool to narrow the search down if you want to make the choice yourself.
Just as I can write letters to and receive them from my World Vision daughter Kiva has it set up so you can stay inform about what's happening with the entrepreneur you're backing via a blog. I love this concept - using the internet to connect good hearted people across the globe to some of the most remote areas to work with others full of the desire to free themselves from the harsh daily realities of poverty.
Just as there are individuals and groups seeking the micro-loans, individuals or groups can offer sponsor the funding by making a loan from just $25 or for an entire project. So a women's network group could all put in and choose to fun another group's entire project and share their experience and ideas via the Kiva blog network.
I'm getting She Inspires involved with Kiva because I love the concept of helping other women across the world achieve their dreams, it is financially accessible for us to be involved with and I believe we are each individually responsible for creating the world we want to live in. Kiva is enabling each of us to show real care and support to other women who need that bit of help so they can do it for themselves and their families.
To find out more about Kiva visit them online at http://www.kiva.org and give it a go!