Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Kiva - What Success Looks Like

Microlending has really taken off over the last few years. The concept is that by loaning fairly small amounts of money to people in second and third world countries, we can give them a chance to raise themselves out of poverty. If you are unfamiliar with microlending (or microfinance) you can read about it here: About Microfinance. The link is from an organization called and that is who I am writing this about. Kiva is a website that allows normal people like me to make microloans to people who are trying to lift themselves out of poverty. Most of the loans go to the working poor who are trying to start or expand small businesses that allow them to provide for their families. I made my first loan with Kiva this year and it went to a woman in Peru who needed funds to expand the inventory in her small grocery store. I didn't lend her all the money, my loan was grouped with the loans of others to come up with the amount that she needed. Kiva works with some amazing microfinance institutions who really know how to make this work. Therefore, their default rate is incredibly low.

But as to why I am writing about this today... Kiva has a great program that allows people to buy gift certificates. So, my brother-in-law got me a Kiva gift certificate for Christmas. I applied it to my account so that I can make another loan. I logged on this morning to decide who to loan to and got this:

Thanks Kiva Lenders! You've funded EVERY loan on the site!!
To date, Kiva has enabled lenders to send $51,875,860 to the working poor around the world.
Currently, we are experiencing a traffic spike and all previously fundraising loans have been fully funded. Our team is working with Kiva's Field Partners around the globe to approve new loan applications every day.

They have run out of people to loan to. As an organization, that is what success looks like. Of course, it doesn't mean they are done. They certainly have not eradicated poverty living in the world but their mission is working. Their mission to raise awareness of the power of microfinance is having an impact. They already have more loans on the way and I am sure they are considering how to expand their reach so they don't temporarily run out in the future. I am sure it is a good but stressful day for the folks at Kiva.

Blessings for a Happy New Year!

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