Kiva is a great charity and example of how to use the web effectively. Kiva has added a fellows blog – which is a great idea. The fellows are funded by Kiva (fellows are unpaid) to go to spend time in the countries Kiva facilitates loans for working with the local partners. This post is about Rita Bashnet (in photo) an entrepreneur from Nepal:
Five years ago, Ms. Rita took her first loan of NRs. 10,000 (USD $150) and purchased some extra seed and fertilizer in the hopes of expanding her small vegetable patch. With the profits from this initial investment and a second loan from Patan Business and Professional Women (they offer a graduated loan program), she then purchased her first dairy cow.
After hearing about a program that subsidized the installation of methane gas storage tanks, Ms. Rita took another loan and applied for the program. With this new system, she is now able to capture the valuable gas released from her cow’s waste in a simple controlled-release storage tank. Today she no longer purchases gas from the city and can even sell some during times of shortage.
Ms. Rita exemplifies the potential of microfinance. A combination of access to capital and strategic investment has allowed her and her family to drastically improve their economic situation in a short five years.
Great story, and exactly my hope for using capitalism to improve the standard of living for people around the globe.
I notice a few days ago, for the first time, some of those seeking loans are about to have their listings expire unfunded. Kiva gives listings 30 days to be funded. Yesterday Kiva announced they were providing funds to lenders as soon as the entrepreneur has made a payment (it used to provide the funds to lenders only once the loan was closed out). My guess is they were smart to create a backlog of available loan options before flooding the Kiva market with lots of extra capital (I, for example, now have over $500 available to lend. If they didn’t have a backlog when this change took place they would have created a situation whee lenders could log in to lend money and can’t find anyone to lend to.
I have no problem if some loans are not funded (I want to help entrepreneurs by providing funding to build a business – some loans are for things like adding a room onto their house, which is fine but not what I want to support with interest free loans from me). A significant number of the unfunded loans where for pubs (I think Kiva lenders might not have the same criteria as banks :-).
If you haven’t loaned money through Kiva, please consider it now. If you do, send me your Kiva lender link and I will add it to Curious Cat Kivans. We have a couple readers that have provided links (including fellow bloggers Kevin Meyer and Tom Southworth) but I really would like to see more.