Sunday, June 20, 2010

Kiva - my way to help out

People who know me through the website Simple Savings might have read the thread I started last year re Kiva.

I thought I'd post on my blog on it also, for anyone dropping by who might be interested. The background is:

I saw a show on Kiva on Oprah in 2007 and filed it away to look into, the founding couple were so inspirational and the show had a big effect on me and really made me think.

Basically Kiva is micro-financing, their website states "
Kiva's mission is to connect people, through lending, for the sake of alleviating poverty. Kiva empowers individuals to lend to an entrepreneur across the globe. By combining microfinance with the internet, Kiva is creating a global community of people connected through lending."

I got to thinking, what if I was born in a developing country and had some great ideas to help improve my life, but no way (or effective/safe way) to access capital, would I approach Kiva, my answer was yes. I see what Kiva is doing as a hand up not a hand out.

So I eventually checked out Kiva in May 2009 and made my first loan.

That loan was to a lady called Magdalena Suriaga from the Philippines. Magdalena was asking for a loan of US$425 to buy farming products in the off season so she wouldn't have to pay the higher prices in the planting season.

I and 14 other lenders lent Magdalena US$25, and over the following 6 months Magdalena made repayments, and repaid the full $425 in October 2009.

Needless to say I was then hooked, hooked on helping people, especially women, make a go of their ideas, where the only thing lacking was capital.

Since May 2009 I have  made 31 loans, totalling US$775, these loans have been made to people in Mongolia, Cambodia, Philippines, Kyrgyzstan, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Samoa, Kenya.

I have focussed on women who are in primary production, I really do believe that if women around the world had more power, access to wealth and resources, that the world would be a better place. Women are the educators, they raise the children, and have more of a village view rather than a self view (generalisation, not in every case).

Of my 31 loans, 9 are full repaid.

Most repayments are made on/around 15th of each month, I really enjoy checking my repayments and selecting who I can lend to again, now that most months I get enough repayments to cover another US$25 loan.

I ended up starting a Kiva group - Aussie & Kiwi Savers - inspired by and made up of Simple Savings members.

Currently as at 22nd June 2010 our team is made up of :

68 members

335 loans (82 are 100% paid back already) 
US$8,425 worth of loans

I'm not advocating everyone get involved, I would highly recommend anyone who is interested in joining us reads everything they can on Kiva, either through the Kiva website   or by googling Kiva, and make your own decision.

As with everything in life, there are good and bad, while I have not had any late/non payers on my loans, I know some people have, I would recommend if you do join Kiva, you research the lenders closely, I only lend through providers who have a good record, and who have been on Kiva for a while.

Kiva - loans that change lives

Till next time,

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