Thursday, December 20, 2007


This Christmas season, I have read several newspaper articles and heard several radio stories about charitable gifts for the holidays. Simultaneously, a few of our Kiva loans have been repaid, allowing us to re-lend the money. If you are thinking of doing some charitable giving this season (gift certificates or lending), you might be interested in an update of our Kiva experience.

We joined in May of 2007, and had invested all the money we planned to allocate to Kiva within about four months. Recently, two more of the loans were repaid: our very first loan, to Victor Glukhov, a clothing salesman in Ukraine, and a loan to one of my favorite borrowers, Luz Elena López Lara, an artist in Mexico.

Thanks to the repayments, I got to make two new loans this month:

Hernán Cahuanihancco Aguila, a cheese maker in Peru, who needed $675 to purchase forage for his cows (I particularly like the description of his business).

Koffi Assamua, a woodworking artist (father of 3) in Togo who needed $900 to purchase wood to fulfill his customers orders.

Of course, we don't loan the entire amount these borrowers request. Our $25 loan contribution is bundled up with all the other lenders' $25 loans, transfered to the "Field Partner", a microlending institution or group, who then administers the disbursement of the loan and the collection of payments. None of our loans has defaulted so far; a couple were refunded when it was not clear to the Field Partner that the loan was going to be used for the intended purpose.

By the way, we have one borrower in Kirkuk, Iraq and one borrower in Kabul, Afghanistan, both making their repayments right on schedule. For me, it is particularly gratifying to have a way to help borrowers in these countries support themselves, their families, their businesses and their communities.

Our experiences with Kiva have been great. We receive email messages as payments are collected, and the exciting final message when the loan payback is complete. Our Kiva account is credited with the repaid funds in 3 or 4 days, and I can go borrower hunting once again (an engrossing activity). As of now, we have been able to reinvest about 20% of our original funds - truly a gift that keeps on giving.

1 comment:

  1. This is SO weird. I was watching GMA this morning and saw the launch of "KIVA" in the US - and I found your blog soon after - but not by researching KIVA - I was just on

    I have never heard of KIVA until this morning and here you have a post from DEC 2007 regarding it.

    So now I have heard about it twice in one morning from two different sources.

    Weird. :)