Tuesday, June 26, 2012


My wonderful grrlfriend reminded me with her blog post today to check up on the status of the Kiva loan I made, since she was the one who prompted me to sign up in the first place. Kiva lets newly joining members make a $25 loan for free. It costs you absolutely nothing except a couple of minutes to fill out the membership form and pick a person to send the money to. Of course, the interest payments on this free money go back to Kiva rather than to you, but you get to help somebody climb out of poverty, and see how the whole system works.

I selected Porfiria, a woman in Bolivia who makes and sells hats, where there never were hats before, which seemed fitting. She wanted to buy a sewing machine so that she could make and sell more hats. According to her Kiva account status, she must be doing just that: She has timely made the first three of her ten scheduled installment payments. I can be a softy at times. When I chose Porfiria to receive the free $25 Kiva gave me to invest, I saw that it left just $25 more for her request to be complete, so I kicked in the last bit from my pocket. I already have $12.60 in credits due to her repayments. I think I'll let it run up to a nice even $25 before reinvesting it elsewhere.

Anyway, Kiva is a great organization. It allows some of the poorest people in the world to become less poor through good old-fashioned hard work and entrepreneurship. It's a cheap, painless, and rewarding way to make the world a better place.


Anonymous said...

Not to rain on your parade but Kiva is just a big PR/BS machine -


No one actually directly lends to the person they see in the picture - in fact, defaults are rarely reported by partners. Hate to burst your bubble - I'd jsut co-donate with the Gates foundation.

Josie said...

I'm a member of Kiva too. I was invited by a fellow blogger. At first I didn't quite understand how lending money helps so much more than just donating. I do now.

NT (aka Cardgrrl) said...


I am okay with "backfilling" loans. The point is that money is going from me to someone who needs it, being repaid, and being leant out again.

I like the notion that my loans are targeted to specific individuals. But I get that the reality of managing microfinance is complicated and that money is fungible. I appreciate that it works at all, frankly.

As for not reporting defaults—well, a partner can only do that for a little while. I'm not going to lose sleep over the possibility.

Wolynski said...

So sorry to be rude, but-

Makes you feel good, does it, teaching the savages how to be proper little debtors? How about grants to deserving people?

GIVE the money already, with no strings attached - like you say, the amount is pitifully small.

So sorry, but don't get me started.

Josie said...


Here is what a friend of mine wrote about the Kiva loans:

"I sent one to another person that ended up frustrating me. That person was disappointed that they couldn't just give the money to what they considered the needy. That completely missed what an economic boon loans and their need for repayment is. It is how we have our homes, business, success. If we could do more of this and less in the giving we'd see better long term results. And, we'd even make a modest profit from it."

I am the frustrating person he mentions above, but I get it now.

Wolynski said...

"That completely missed what an economic boon loans and their need for repayment is. It is how we have our homes, business, success".

With all due respect, I must be reading different news than you do. Greece, Spain, Italy - entire countries are going bust, because of debt and America is next. Trillions in student loans will never be repaid.

Debt is slavery.

Whatever happened to the concept of plain, old-fashioned aid? Just get the woman a sewing machine, without cutting into her tiny profit and moralizing about the glory of capitalism.

Anonymous said...

If she is truly your girlfriend and truly wonderful, why are the two of you (both approaching middle-age) still living across the country from each other? Enquiring minds want to know.