Wondering what the link is ?? These are all little businesses that I have been supporting through a Micro Finance arrangement with a company called Kiva.   For a small investment of 50 USD about five years ago, my money has been loaned, returned and reinvested to twenty eight different people (or groups) across eighteen different countries in seven different sectors including agriculture, construction, retail, transportation, clothing, food and services.

How does Kiva work ?

Taken from Kiva Website :

Why we do what we do

  • We envision a world where all people – even in the most remote areas of the globe – hold the power to create opportunity for themselves and others.
  • We believe providing safe, affordable access to capital to those in need helps people create better lives for themselves and their families.

How we do it

  • Making a loan on Kiva is so simple that you may not realize how much work goes on behind the scenes.
  • Kiva works with microfinance institutions on five continents to provide loans to people without access to traditional banking systems. One hundred percent of your loan is sent to these microfinance institutions, which we call Field Partners, who administer the loans in the field.
  • Kiva relies on a world wide network of over 450 volunteers who work with our Field Partners, edit and translate borrower stories, and ensure the smooth operation of countless other Kiva programs.

Learn more about how it works.

How we’re funded

  • 100% of every dollar you lend on Kiva goes directly towards funding loans; Kiva does not take a cut. Furthermore, Kiva does not charge interest to our Field Partners, who administer the loans.
  • Kiva is primarily funded through the support of lenders making optional donations. We also raise funds through grants, corporate sponsors, and foundations.
  • We are incredibly thankful for the support that has enabled us to do the work that has touched the lives of so many people.

The great thing for me, is that you can see how a little bit of your money, loaned for a short period of time (and pooled with other lenders from across the world), can make a huge difference to people’s lives.  My recent loans have focussed on the food industry including helping Emily in the Philippines to buy a new fishing net and bamboo, Saeed a twenty three year old in Palestine, he’s setting up a little coffee shop and Jamila in Lebanon who wanted to buy additional stock for her convenience store so she could send her children to school.

Whilst it’s not a lot, and I know I can always do more – micro financing is a very satisfying way for me to help support people with their dreams in an armchair easy way and also in a way which doesn’t take too much of my finances, since I continually re-loan the original investment of 50 USD every time I have 25 USD in my Kiva account.  The great thing is that you choose who you want to lend your money to, there are always plenty of people and groups featured on the website and the choice of who you choose to lend to us up to you. You can select by country, gender, sector and can also see how long it will take for your investment to be paid as well as how close to being fully funded the loan is.  The beauty of micro financing is that it provides financial support and assistance to allow people to start or grow their business, providing those without access to traditional banks access to funds to give them real opportunity.

A Kiva loan isn’t entirely risk free, a quick glance at my portfolio which is held online by Kiva and fully accessible to me shows that of the 28 loans I’ve made, only one person defaulted and didn’t completely pay their loan back in full as unfortunately his business failed, but this hasn’t deterred me one bit, since the majority of my loans have paid back in full and the progress report given by Kiva shows that the loans make a real different to their lives. Overall Kiva have a 98.7% replayment rate which is excellent.

And my favourite loan? It was the fourth loan I made to help a twenty year old guy from Tajikistan who was selling confectionary in the markets to support himself and his parents. I can only imagine the responsibility he faced in doing this, and the difference that a loan of 1650 USD made to his life.

For more information about Kiva you can find them at www.kiva.org for more about microfinance then click >> HERE

This post is not a sponsored or promoted post, it’s just a sharing of my Kiva experience.

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