Thursday, June 3, 2010
Website Revinvents Charitable Giving
If you have not checked out Kiva.org you should. It will change the way you look at giving. It is based on one of the true pioneers in the realm of how to help alleviate poverty on a global scale-- the Nobel prize winning Bangladeshi economist Mohammed Yunis. Yunis' book Creating a World Without Poverty describes his journey as a young man growing up on one of the poorest countries in the world--Bangla Desh. He started the micro lending movement when he realized one of the key reasons why people are poor and stay poor is that they have no access to capital. and made a $27 loan to women in Chittagong, Bangladesh Since then the movement has grown exponentially and now provides millions of small loans to poor people. Yunis’s argument is a powerful one –that when the dollar is used in business it is basically cycled once---a transaction between a consumer and the business owner or merchant—but with social businesses the funds get recycled multiple times –as capital for a new business it can help pay for raw materials and employees.
Now with the web the process of micro lending has taken off—in 2008, Bala Vishwanath, an alum of top Indian tech and management schools left his his job and started www.UnitedProsperity.org, providing loan guarantees that enable poor entrepreneurs to borrow from Microfinance Institutions to build their enterprises in developing countries.
Kiva (www.kiva.org) is a website that uses Yunis’ principles to rethink the way we give to charity. In most charity situations we are just giving money for a cause we believe in and we lose any contact with how the money is being spent and whether it does any good. Kiva wants to turn charity donors into partners.
The following statistics taken from their website indicate their impressive
Total value of all loans made through Kiva: $140,222,635
Number of Kiva Users: 719,433
Number of Kiva Users who have funded a loan: 457,927
Number of countries represented by Kiva Lenders: 197
Current repayment rate (all partners): 98.16%
Average loan size (This is the average amount loaned to an individual Kiva Entrepreneur. Some loans - group loans - are divided between a group of borrowers.): $390.89
Average total amount loaned per Kiva Lender (includes reloaned funds): $195.18
Average number of loans per Kiva Lender: 5.70
Kiva partners Kiva Partners with a Microfinance Institution
Kiva partners with "existing microfinance institutions around the world (we call them Field Partners). These organizations that have expertise in microfinance and a mission to alleviate poverty facilitate Kiva loans on the ground."
You can join lending teams and aggregate your individual amount with that of team and you can decide to give to a huge variety of highly worthy entrepreneurs whose profiles are listed.
For example a group of women silk weavers in Cambodia need $2,500 to buy silk
and they still need $950 --you can make a $25 donation. Their picture is featured at the top of this blog.
"Thirteen people who live in Ampil Lech village in Takeo province make up a village bank loan group. Mrs. Eng Ly Nget is the village bank president, selected by all the members. They will use the loan for different purposes so that it can improve their businesses in the future.
Mrs. Eng Ly Nget is a weaver and her husband, Mr. Roeurn Yen, is a farmer who owns a plot of land to cultivate rice on to sell to support his family. Since her business is going well, she wants to expand. Thus to improve her family's living conditions, Mrs. Eng Ly Nget is seeking a loan to buy silk. She is the mother of three children, one of whom is a weaver, while another one is enrolled in local public school, and the youngest one is only three years old."
This is very personal giving and it is a loan--you get repaid for your donation!
"The Field Partner collects repayments from Kiva entrepreneurs as well as any interest due and lets Kiva know if a repayment was not made as scheduled. Interest rates are set by the Field Partner, and that interest is used to cover the Field Partner's operating costs. Kiva doesn't charge interest to its Field Partners and does not provide interest to lenders. Kiva also gives Field Partners the option to cover currency losses."