EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT MICRO LENDING ON KIVA.ORG
If you want to be more charitable but can’t permanently part with your finances, micro finance is another way to do good. Not sure where to start? Here are 3 steps to getting started with micro lending on Kiva.org, an organization I’ve been a member of since 2012.
1. EXPLORE THE PROCESS
Kiva.org operates on loans in USD and I started with a promotional $25 in free credit to try almost 8 years ago, which is a risk-free way to explore the world of micro finance. Almost all of my loans since have been only $25 USD, which is about $33 CAD.
One might think that $25 USD is too low to effect any change, but the lower cost of living in the developing world allows for *small* amounts to contribute to economic, social, and personal growth around the globe. Of course, *small* is relative and poverty exists everywhere, including developed nations. Kiva.org has US-based loans that you can fund as well.
2. ESTABLISH YOUR PREFERENCES
Since 2012, I have funded 16 loans to women in 16 countries by adding my $25 USD contribution to their loan request. Some are individual women asking for $75 to $200 to buy supplies for their small service business, like a community store or hairdressing space. Others are groups of women who ask for larger amounts over $500 USD for more significant projects, such as repairing a sewing machine or buying equipment. It’s important, however, to avoid supporting consumable loans where families are borrowing for essential items (which is likely to entrench poverty further).
If gender parity in the labour force increases a country’s GDP and 85% of the 40 million fast fashion garment labourers are women making less than $1 per day, microfinance might be one way women and their families can avoid extreme poverty.
Here’s how I do it:
Kiva.org has a Field Partner Risk Rating associated with each loan – the higher the star rating, the lower the risk (seems counter-intuitive, I know). I only choose loans that have a 2.5 to 5 star risk rating and I have never had a loan default. NEVER!
Only one loan that I funded expired (which means it was not funded in full) and the amount was returned to my Kiva credit.
My outstanding loan amount is high because Kiva just recently had a $50 promotional credit and that is being repaid.
Loans can take anywhere from 7 months to 24 months to be repaid – select the time frame you are most comfortable with.
3. START SMALL
Now that you have a little more familiarity with the process, imagine what your $25 could do in as little as 7 months to greatly increase someone’s chance of improved quality of life!
I recently signed up for Kiva’s Monthly Good and now I add $5 to my Kiva credit each month and combine it with loan repayments to fund another woman somewhere new.
Not sure yet? Say why you want to try Kiva to your Instagram (story or post) and tag me – I will randomly select one person to give my Kiva.org credit to each month!
This post is NOT sponsored – I loan because kindness in the midst of risk creates hope!