The KIVA Experience
I came across KIVA earlier this year when I wanted to find out more about how Microloans work and made a modest investment and have been really happy with how it is going It makes sense on so many different levels as a charitable investment and seems like a win win scenario for all parties involved
Basically Kiva is a US based investment company that lends microloans to entrepreneurs in developing countries for all sorts of purposes both business and personal . Kiva is the public face of an international lending concern which works with its field partners on the ground in developing nations who offer specialist assistance and keep track of and monitor the progress of its entrepreneurs
For example some field partners will work with farmers and entrepreneurs in remote rural villages to provide specialized business training other field partners will specialize in working in fields connected with the education and empowerment of women ,others in the medical field etc
What I love about Microloan lending that firstly a small amount of money by our standards goes a very long way in the economies of undr developed countries .A relatively small amount of money in our currency can be the equivelant of perhaps a weeks wage or even a months wage and so make a real difference in enabling an entrepreneur in a developing country to upgrade thier financial circumstances
Also the repayment rate of Microloans through KIva is extremelyy high and the chances of actually losing any money for the investor is extremely low Although the entrepreneur is charged a small affordable amount of interest on the loan this does not comeback to the investor but goes to support the work of the field partner
Kiva assigns an account page to each of its investors which is really easy to use which enables you to keep track of each of the entrepreneurs you have invested in and their repayment progress .it gives you information about other investors who have also contributed to the microloan you signed up to
Once the loan replayments which are affordable increments for the entrepreneurs are lodged in your acccount you have a choice of either cashing them out or recirculating them to asssist another entrepreneur .Kiva makes it super easy with a straightforwards step by step process relend You are directed to the menu to select a new entrepreneur you would like to assist and with a few easy steps the money you have accumulated in your Kiva account is reassigned
My first three entrepreneurs include a Lebanese lady to help with her dental expenses ,a Kenyan seamstress to purchase more materials for her dress making business and a Vietnamese farmers wife to help her families business with purchasing cattle .As the loan repayments came in I rolled them over and expanded my portfolio to assist a gutamalan womans textile collective where they create fabrics and clothing with traditional designs and a lady in the middle east who applied for funds to help her mother have a retinal operation …..
The great thing too with relending your money is that each time you may need to add small incremental payments so that your total investment is boosted and the funds you actually have in play as an investor are boosted so it becomes like an enforced savings plan for yourself ..and thebeauty of it is if at any stage you do need to recoup your investment as the repayments come in you can cash them out
I am really only a very small player in the KIVA > When I check out the portfolios of some of my co- lenders I am truely amazed and awed at peoples generosity .Some investors have literally hundreds and hundreds loans in play to hundreds of entrepreneurs it is gratifying to see such generosity of spirit and I hope to continue to contribute to Kiva and go on expanding my portfolio for a long time to come It feels great to give and great to be surrounded by and working in cooperation with so many generous souls in a truely viable win win ethical financial programme that is making a positive difference where it is needed .