Christine and I have been friends since college. When I saw the Kiva logo on her blog, I decided to ask her a few questions.
Jeff: Christine, thanks for taking the time to sit down (via email) with Adventist Activism to talk about Kiva. Tell us about their work and your involvement with it.
Christine: Kiva is a grassroots organization serving the working poor by connecting people with money to lend directly to the individual(s) they’ll fund. Describing themselves as “the world’s first person-to-person, micro-lending website,” Kiva’s loans enable entrepreneurs to start or grow a business.
I’m a five-time lender, which sounds like a lot. It really isn’t. I started by investing $100 in Kiva last year. As the money is repaid, I reinvest in another applicant. When I get a big paycheck, I invest another $25 or $50, whatever I can.
As a lender, I can review applicants by category such as food or transportation, by gender, by region and more. Ever since I’ve been a self-sufficient, bill-paying adult, I’ve looked for ways to help keep other people fed. Thethat I’ve helped fund are a way to help people feed themselves.
Jeff: What motivated you to move from just being impressed with Kiva to actually putting your money on the table?
Christine: Because I’m an entrepreneur myself, I know how difficult it can be to raise funds in a way that feels respectable — like not a parental loan, okay? Nothing shady. Being able to put the exact amount of money I’m lending directly into the hands of an individual who’s building a business, without having it skimmed first for overhead and marketing expenses, really appealed to me. I don’t have a lot of extra money and I’d much rather spend it on selfish things — books and pastries, mostly. I like to know that 100% of the money I lend goes where I send it, and the $25 minimum loan amount is really doable for me.
Jeff: If our readers want to get involved, what is the process?
Christine: Visit www.kiva.org and hit the “Lend” tab. Read through the requests, and I think you’ll really connect with the people. It’s hard to say no to someone who only needs a small loan to buy a few chickens to raise to sell eggs or a person who needs a moped in order to collect recycling. You can make donations by credit card online and then keep track of your investment with emails from Kiva. When your loan is repaid, you can withdraw the credit back to your card or you can choose another applicant and reinvest. Once I saw how the site worked and the loans worked, I kept on investing. I feel my money is being used to give another person a boost, which is all I can ask for, really. Go take a look over your next lunch break.
Jeff: Thanks a lot for sharing with us. I hope we’ll hear more from you in the future here at Adventist Activism.
- Microcredit (Wikipedia)
- Micro Credit (Compassion in Politics)
- Micro Finance (ADRA)
- Micro-Loans for Americans? (Fortune)
- Banker To The Poor: Micro-Lending and the Battle Against World Poverty (Muhammad Yunus)
- Creating a World Without Poverty: Social Business and the Future of Capitalism (Muhammad Yunus)
- How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas (David Bornstein)
- A Billion Bootstraps: Microcredit, Barefoot Banking, and The Business Solution for Ending Poverty (Philip Smith, Eric Thurman)
- Microfinance Handbook: An Institutional and Financial Perspective (Joanna Ledgerwood)