The Gift of Kiva

The Rest / Friday, September 9th, 2011

Several years ago, my boss at the time gave her employees the most awesome gift. Each of us received $100 to loan out at Kiva. is a site where you can make microloans of as little as $25 to someone who doesn’t have access to traditional banking services. Kiva makes loans to people on five continents, often for entrepreneurial purposes.

What’s cool is that you – as a lender – can choose who you want your money to go to. And once it’s repaid (Kiva has over a 98% repayment rate) you can lend that money again to someone else.

In the past four years, the original money I was given to loan out has gone to the following people:

Issatu Mansaray, Sierra Leone

Issatu used the money to buy inventory for her general store in her small village of Yataya.

Blessing Eguabor, Nigera

Blessing sells soft drinks and sachet waters in Benin City, Nigeria. She used her loan to buy more inventory to sell.

Kamukamu Women’s Group, Uganda

This loan was used to purchase fertilizer for a farming group in Kyenjojo, Uganda. The group grows tea leaves and sells them to a tea factory.

Saiyohat Mavlonova, Tajikistan

Saiyohat used her loans to buy fabric, which is sold for women’s dresses. She has a kiosk in a market in Istaravshan, Tajikistan.

Kamala Gulaliyeva, Azerbaijan

Kamala is using her loan proceeds to buy five young cattle, which she will raise and sell.

Dufatanye Bahinzi No1 /ruhuha Group, Rawanda

This loan went to Claude, a member of this group, who will use it to buy beans, sorghum, and peanuts for resale. He will use the proceeds to pay medical expenses for his family.

So how cool is this? Seriously, it’s one of the best gifts I’ve ever been given.

You can join Kiva and begin making microloans yourself. This would also make a great gift for a generous, but hard to buy for, person on your list this upcoming holiday season.

Have you had any experience with Kiva or a similar organization?

19 Replies to “The Gift of Kiva”

    1. Carla, it sounds like you’re talking about Heifer, International. That’s another great program and I love your idea. May have to steal it for myself. :-)

  1. That amazing that you can follow the money like that. I have read a bit about Mohammad Yunus and the Grameen microlending bank in Bangladesh. Those small loans really do have a big impact.

  2. Like to add on to the wisdom here, a noble prize winner from Bangladesh actually started this concept in his country, he developed a banking system called “Gramin Bank” and thereby brought prosperity to his poor nation. Kiva copied the concept micro loan and micro banking are very powerful when implemented properly.

    Nice to see your participation in something so valuable and noble.

  3. I’ve heard about Kiva but never knew anyone who had experience with it. I’ll definitely check into it.

    On another note, did all the employees appreciate this gift? It seems like your boss made her charitable giving decision in the form of a gift. I’m not sure that’s good for a work situation.

    1. Kay Lynn, yes all appreciated it. We were a very small company and — I don’t remember specifically — but I’m sure she gave us “regular gifts” for whatever the occasion was. It was all very cool.

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