Kiva is the first online non-profit organization that allows entrepreneurs and students from poor countries to take out small loans for their businesses or education. In rural areas and where people are deeply poverty stricken, many lack the capital to acquire resources to pull themselves out of poverty.
Kiva proposes a daring and brilliant solution. First, they obtain the help of local field partners in a particular region. Field partners can include microfinance organizations, social businesses, schools and other non-profit organization. Second, these local institutions do the legwork to acquire requests for loans. Then the Kiva team reviews, edits and translates the request to be published on Kiva. Org. Kiva lenders then fulfill the loan request.
After the loan has been spent, the borrower makes repayments. At this point the lender can then pull out their funds, donate to Kiva or make another loan. Kiva has already crowd-funded over $504 million in microloans since their launch in 2005. The repayment rate has been 99.01%. Recently Google has given Kiva a Global Impact Award with a grant of $3 million. Kiva plans on expanding their micro-lending model and testing new solutions for greater impact on world poverty that is sustainable and market viable.
Perhaps Kiva has managed to raise such a staggering amount in so little time because of the direct nature of the loans. Charities always take in a lot of funds, but few people know how the money is distributed or how it is spent. In loaning with Kiva, there is a 99% chance to get your money back and the loaner gets to choose who gets the money and why. Being able to see the impact a mere $25 dollars has on some else’s life is truly inspiring. Shedding light on people in extreme poverty is always a noble thing. However, empowering others to help themselves is a little more satisfying than giving to a seemingly endless void that is world poverty.