Back in November I wrote about my decision to make a micro-loan through the orgaisation Kiva, to enable an entrepreneur in a less financially advantaged situation to get a boost in their business. About a month later I had some spare dollars and decided to put them to good use.
I decided to go with a fairly short term loan for my first Kiva loan, so that I could see the process in action, and once some of the money was repaid I could add to it and make a second loan to someone else. By topping up the repaid credits I could start to get a portfolio of loans happening and make sure that the money I was lending was out there circulating and helping people. Since then Consuelo has paid back 25% of her loan, and soon I'll be making my next one.
Kiva provides lots of feedback on the lendees' progress through 'fellows' in the field. They are a team of volunteers who work with the small lending institutions in the different countries, sometimes in quite difficult circumstances. They do admin and lending work, but most importantly they must also write blog posts and journal entries feeding back information to the lenders and Kiva. They help write profiles of the entrepreneurs, and report on the progress of the loan and what it has meant to the recipient.
One fellow called Kieran Ball left his job at Credit Suisse in October to take up a fellow post in Cambodia. He decided to make this awesome 11 minute video to follow the Kiva loan that his workmates made as a farewell gift on his behalf:
Fantastic, right? A great way to explain the process and humanise it. Keiran wrote a supplementary blog post about the video also.
In other good news, Kiva has had so much press and traffic of late that recently all of the outstanding loans have been raised. Wow. Apparently they are working like crazy to approve new entrepreneurs, and there are a few new ones on the site as I write this, but there should be some more loans to be fulfilled soon. So far Kiva has loaned more than US$57 million dollars to people in poor countries, with a very small default rate. Amazing!