The Gift of Kiva

by Julie on September 9, 2011 · 19 comments

Several years ago, my boss at the time gave her employees the most awesome gift. Each of us received $100 to loan out at Kiva.

Kiva.org is a site where you can make microloans of as little as $25 to someone who doesn’t have access to traditional banking services. Kiva makes loans to people on five continents, often for entrepreneurial purposes.

What’s cool is that you – as a lender – can choose who you want your money to go to. And once it’s repaid (Kiva has over a 98% repayment rate) you can lend that money again to someone else.

In the past four years, the original money I was given to loan out has gone to the following people:

Issatu Mansaray, Sierra Leone

Issatu used the money to buy inventory for her general store in her small village of Yataya.

Blessing Eguabor, Nigera

Blessing sells soft drinks and sachet waters in Benin City, Nigeria. She used her loan to buy more inventory to sell.

Kamukamu Women’s Group, Uganda

This loan was used to purchase fertilizer for a farming group in Kyenjojo, Uganda. The group grows tea leaves and sells them to a tea factory.

Saiyohat Mavlonova, Tajikistan

Saiyohat used her loans to buy fabric, which is sold for women’s dresses. She has a kiosk in a market in Istaravshan, Tajikistan.

Kamala Gulaliyeva, Azerbaijan

Kamala is using her loan proceeds to buy five young cattle, which she will raise and sell.

Dufatanye Bahinzi No1 /ruhuha Group, Rawanda

This loan went to Claude, a member of this group, who will use it to buy beans, sorghum, and peanuts for resale. He will use the proceeds to pay medical expenses for his family.

So how cool is this? Seriously, it’s one of the best gifts I’ve ever been given.

You can join Kiva and begin making microloans yourself. This would also make a great gift for a generous, but hard to buy for, person on your list this upcoming holiday season.

Have you had any experience with Kiva or a similar organization?

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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Carla September 9, 2011 at 4:47 am

Love KIVA!! I plan on buying my kids a donated goat or a few chickens this year through the “Best Gift Ever” program for Christmas! :)

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Julie September 9, 2011 at 9:05 am

Carla, it sounds like you’re talking about Heifer, International. That’s another great program and I love your idea. May have to steal it for myself. :-)

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20's Finances September 9, 2011 at 12:54 pm

I have heard of similar organizations, but this sounds like a great one too! I will need to look into this for the Christmas season. :) Thanks for sharing!

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Julie September 9, 2011 at 2:35 pm

You’re welcome!

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Hunter September 9, 2011 at 1:04 pm

That amazing that you can follow the money like that. I have read a bit about Mohammad Yunus and the Grameen microlending bank in Bangladesh. Those small loans really do have a big impact.

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Julie September 9, 2011 at 2:35 pm

They really do, Hunter. I love the entrepreneurial spirit of these organizations.

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Gayle McLaughlin September 9, 2011 at 2:35 pm

I have never heard of Kiva! i have heard of Heifer, International though. Thank you for drawing this to my attention. It is amazing that you can see where your money goes!

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Julie September 9, 2011 at 2:36 pm

I love that part, Gayle. I need to look into Heifer more closely. I think what they do is really cool too.

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Niki September 10, 2011 at 6:03 am

Kiva is fantastic. What a nice roundup of the people you have helped.

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Matt B. September 10, 2011 at 8:03 am

Wow, that’s really cool. I’m gonna have to check that out.

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Jesse @ BP September 11, 2011 at 12:22 pm

Kiva is such a great program and it’s amazing what these people can do with such small amounts of money.

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Julie September 12, 2011 at 11:52 am

Agreed, Jesse. It’s so easy for us to make a difference.

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SB @ One Cent At A Time September 11, 2011 at 2:48 pm

Like to add on to the wisdom here, a noble prize winner from Bangladesh actually started this concept in his country, he developed a banking system called “Gramin Bank” and thereby brought prosperity to his poor nation. Kiva copied the concept micro loan and micro banking are very powerful when implemented properly.

Nice to see your participation in something so valuable and noble.

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Julie September 12, 2011 at 11:52 am

Great info, SB. Thanks for giving us some background.

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Kay Lynn @ Bucksome Boomer September 13, 2011 at 7:48 am

I’ve heard about Kiva but never knew anyone who had experience with it. I’ll definitely check into it.

On another note, did all the employees appreciate this gift? It seems like your boss made her charitable giving decision in the form of a gift. I’m not sure that’s good for a work situation.

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Julie September 13, 2011 at 9:28 am

Kay Lynn, yes all appreciated it. We were a very small company and — I don’t remember specifically — but I’m sure she gave us “regular gifts” for whatever the occasion was. It was all very cool.

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Justin @ MoneyIsTheRoot September 13, 2011 at 8:53 am

Kiva is really great, and is another form of charitable giving. I wish there were more tax breaks associated with this type of lending so it would encourage others to do so.

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