Kiva – My Favourite Non-Profit Organization

Would you like to make a difference for people in third world countries, but are unsure how to do it? Or maybe you feel like you can’t afford it, or you aren’t sure it really makes a difference?

My solution has been Kiva, which is my favourite non-profit organization. Through Kiva you can make loans to entrepreneurs in third world countries.  I’ve supported their work for almost 2 years now, and I only have good things to say about them. You can check out my Lending Page. Even better, an anonymous donor has sponsored a free trials program, so you can sign up and make your first loan for free.

So what is Kiva?

According to their website, Kiva was born of the following beliefs:

  • People are by nature generous, and will help others if given the opportunity to do so in a transparent, accountable way.
  • The poor are highly motivated and can be very successful when given an opportunity.
  • By connecting people we can create relationships beyond financial transactions, and build a global community expressing support and encouragement of one another.
Kiva promotes:
  • Dignity: Kiva encourages partnership relationships as opposed to benefactor relationships. Partnership relationships are characterized by mutual dignity and respect.
  • Accountability: Loans encourage more accountability than donations where repayment is not expected.
  • Transparency: The Kiva website is an open platform where communication can flow freely around the world.

Kiva versus Standard Non-Profits

I really support what Kiva stands for and what they promote. I believe one of the biggest problems with standard charity donations, is that the giver never really sees where the money goes and where it makes a difference. Furthermore, standard charity keeps the giver in a “I am better than thou” state of mind, and not in an equal relationship between two human beings of equal worth. It is a mindset that dates back to colonialism and “I’m better than you and have more knowledge than you, so now I’m going to give you money and tell you what to do with it”. This is not something that foster responsibility, accountability and dignity.

How Does Kiva Work?

Well, this all sounds pretty good right? So how does it work?
Once again, this is taken from their website, so you can go there for more detailed information.
Basically, the process is as follows (also illustrated  below):
  1. Kiva partners with a microfinance institution (field partners).
  2. Field partners disburse loans and upload stories.
  3. Lenders browse profiles and lend.
  4. Entrepreneurs repay their loans.
  5. Kiva provides repayments to lenders.
Well, now you might think, sure…. but do they really pay back? Isn’t it just money out the window? Does this really make a difference? Actually 98.91% of all loans are paid back, I’d say those are pretty good statistics! And proof that this does make a difference.
These are generally not large loans, the average loan amount is $382.53, but they have helped 424,374 entrepreneurs so far. That’s almost half a million people, whose lives have been improved. Who might be able to send their children or grandchildren to school now, because they got the capital to start a small shop instead of living from hand-to-mouth.

Call to Action

How much is 25$ to you? If you live in the West, even if you are on a very tight budget, it probably isn’t a lot. If you could spare just 25$ a month, you could help change someones life. If you did this, just once a month, within a year, as the loans are paid back, you’d have a continuous cycle if you continue to re-lend that money.
Now, I don’t blame you if it take a while from really liking this idea, to actually taking action. It took me 1½ years from when I first heard about Kiva until I joined and made my first loan. If you make just one loan every month, within 6-7 months, you will have been repaid enough to re-lend the money.
If you think this sounds good, an anonymous donor has enabled them to offer free trials, so I would love for you to head on over, sign up and check it out for yourself.

7 Comments

  1. I agree completely. I lend via MyC4, but it’s the same idea: to help people help themselves and create dynamic societies. If the usual help to third world countries did as much good as they have been telling us, everybody in Africa would be rich.

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    • MyC4 sounds cool as well!
      Like you pointed out Ulla, one of the best thing about these non-profits is that they help people help themselves. I believe people are more likely to take responsibility for their own lives if you give them the opportunity to do that. I think giving people a loan and an opportunity to change their lives around is to treat them more respectfully and as full human beings, as opposed to benevolently giving them money, which sets up a system of “I’m better than you, you are dependent on me”.

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      • Exactly. A loan they have to repay, is dignified. And at the same time, we edge out the local loan shark, whose conditions can be horrific, because we can afford to loose the money. I’m okay with that.

        Like

      • Precisely, it gives them the opportunity to borrow money under fair, dignified conditions.

        Like

  2. I love Kiva so much and I donate to them mostly..it makes me proud to be able to help those in need with this little money 🙂

    Like

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