Kiva provides loans through partners (operating in the countries) to the entrepreneurs. Those partners do charge the entrepreneurs interest (to fund the operations of the lending partner). Kiva pays the principle back to you but does not pay interest. And if the entrepreneur defaults then you do not get your capital paid back (in other words you lose the money you loaned).
They do an excellent job of using the internet to allow people like me to feel connected to people we can help. And in so doing, they do an excellent job of implementing their strategy (providing funds for micro-loans) to achieve their goal (to alleviate poverty). “Kiva’s mission is to connect people through lending for the sake of alleviating poverty.”
Today I added $450 to my loan portfolio with Kiva and donated another $100 to Kiva. I added 5 loans in: Tanzania (2 loans), Uganda, Paraguay and Ecuador.
I am happy with the success of the Curious Cat blogs but I do have one item I wish would improve. I wish more Curious Cat readers would take advantage of Kiva. If you lend through Kiva, please add a comment with a link to your Kiva page and I will add you to our list of Curious Cat Kiva Contributors.
The Kiva web site includes all sorts of data on the partners making the loans (the capital at risk is provided by Kiva donors but a local organization services the loans…). For example, see the profile for Tujijenge Tanzania Ltd. This shows for example the Amount Repaid Vs Expected Rate (100% for this partner – no defaults or delinquency). The rates for all Kiva loans are 3.75% delinquent and .12% defaulted. They also show the Average Interest Rate Borrower Pays To Kiva Field Partner (which is 24% in this example) and the Average Local Money Lender Interest Rate (which is 60%).
One of things I really hope to see is some research on the results Kiva is producing. What kind of changes are these loans bringing about: specifically looking at Kiva. And also looking at various factors such as the interest rate and whether targeting my lending to those with lower average rates results in greater benefit. There is a great deal of unknown and unknowable numbers involved but some data would be interesting as well as analysis even without numbers of results.
Related: Using Capitalism to Make the World Better – Frontline Explores Kiva in Uganda – Providing a Helping Hand via Kiva – Expanding Credit Access: Using Randomized Supply Decisions to Estimate the Impacts – Microfinance research links