10/31/2005

Kiva - MicroLoans to the poor

What We Do
Kiva lets you connect with and loan money to unique small businesses in the developing world.

By choosing a business on our website and then lending money online to that enterprise, you can "sponsor a business" and help the world's working poor make great strides towards economic independence. Throughout the course of the loan (usually 6-12 months), you can receive monthly email updates that let you know about the progress being made by the small business you've sponsored. These updates include reports on loan repayment progress, photos of new capital equipment, narratives on business growth and standard of living improvements, and more. As loans are repaid, you will get your original loan money back.

How does the loan process work?
By partnering with existing microfinance organizations and institutions, Kiva finds outstanding entrepreneurs who need loan funding. Our expert in-country staff works with these partner organizations to conduct due diligence on each business, and once approved, post each business' profile on our website. This is where you come in. You can choose loan money online, using your credit card or Paypal, in increments as low as $25 toward the loan needs of a business. With your participation, Kiva gives entrepreneurs access to the capital they need to lift themselves out of poverty.

What makes Kiva unique?
The charitable loan. Kiva is the first and only existing option for you to make a loan to a unique microenterprise. No other organization offers the opportunity to loan - instead of, or in addition to, making a donation - to a real person and then get your money back. Furthermore, when you loan to a Kiva business, every dollar you loan goes to that business. Kiva is a very low-overhead organization that raises money offline to support its small budget. None of the money you loan goes to fund administrative costs.

Direct, real-time, one-to-one connection. The individuals featured on our website are real people who need a microloan. They are waiting for socially-minded individuals like you to lend them money. They will not receive a loan until a Kiva lender provides it. Our data is real, not representative. Once funded, sponsored entrepreneurs are diligently tracked and the real results of their efforts are propagated through email updates and on our website.

Transparency. Once donors make donations to an MFI or a nonprofit, tracking where that money actually goes is difficult, if not impossible, in most situations. Kiva removes several layers between lenders and recipients and makes tracking funds simpler and easier. In fact, Kiva allows lenders to see firsthand how, when, and why the work of their sponsored enterprises succeeds or fails.

Customized, high-engagement experience for all. Many organizations give special attention to a select few "major donors" (at very least, these are individuals who contribute several thousand dollars or more) and spend a great deal of time and money to give them a high-engagement, personalized experience connecting with the end beneficiaries of their generosity. We at Kiva believe everyone should have an opportunity to connect directly with the people their money helps empower, so therefore we allow each and every Kiva lender - and, in fact, anyone who takes the time to look through our site - the opportunity to see their dollars effecting change.

Commitment to working in rural areas. Kiva is committed to reaching people who have few if any other opportunities to receive microloans. Most organizations have offices in big cities, which makes sense for many reasons. However, this means that most of their work takes place in the areas surrounding those cities - not in very rural areas where it is often more expensive and logistically difficult to work. The idea to start Kiva began in the villages of Uganda, and Kiva continues to focus on rural areas.

Kiva

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