At SALT we are giant fans of Kiva, the international micro-lending platform established by Jessica Jackley and Matt Flannery in 2005. We think you should be too. Have a look at the Kiva website (www.kiva.org) to see how your money can quite literally change peoples lives, and have a look through our top five reasons we’re so excited about what they do.
Duration : 2 min to read
The Grameen Bank Structure
Muhammad Yunus’ Grameen Bank, established in 1983, has assisted 75% of his borrowers to cross the poverty line, and is the foundation for Kiva. Grameen offers small loans to the poorest citizens of Bangladesh and its model has been copied throughout the world. It was Yunus himself who inspired Jackley and Flannery to establish a similar platform that would link lenders and borrowers who otherwise would never communicate.
Loans, Not Donations
Providing finance for small businesses by way of lending money is a brilliant way of helping an individual or family move to the next stage of their careers. Often the requested amounts are small in comparison to how much a parallel progression in a Western business might cost, and if you need further reasons to help a person progress in their business, one comes ready made for you – your donation is a loan, and will be paid back over time.
Having a say in exactly where your money goes and who it ends up helping is one of the greatest components of Kiva, who categorise the prospective borrowers so that lenders can support women, or food, or sustainable projects, depending on where their interests lie. Specificity in investment is helpful for multiple reasons – you may find a borrower achieving something close to your own heart and be able to assist them in their progress with it.
Kiva work with field partners who are present on the ground in the areas in which the borrowers live and work. In this way the model is built on genuine relationships between people rather than long distance communications or bureaucracy, which helps to keep everyone best informed of any developments, and ensures that needs are being genuinely met.
Putting An End To The Poor’s History Of Exclusion
Across the entire world the least wealthy individuals are maligned and excluded, denied opportunities even to fend for themselves or to make their way out of poverty and its harrowing conditions. Kiva, Grameen Bank, and similar projects are striking at the very heart of this inequality, empowering the voiceless to establish their own businesses, achieve new qualifications, and expand their knowledge, whilst enabling the individuals to control the system through which their financing comes. The borrowers propose their own repayment schemes and Kiva profiles, and so remain the focal point of the platform.
Kiva is a strong and unpatronising platform through which everyday people can empower other everyday people. It is this simple, progressive system that has so far donated $656,467,925 to businesses worldwide and changed 1,518,230 people’s lives – so far.