Kiva: page 2 of 14

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I heard from an experienced user of Kiva that she chooses loans with long payback periods as she feels that is an indication that the person requesting the loan really needs it. I like that approach and may gravitate towards it in time. For the moment, however, I am going to choose loans with short repayment periods so that the money comes back faster enabling me to re-loan it and increase the number of loans I make. Loans to entrepreneurs in Peru seem to have shorter terms.

There seems to be a shortage of loans available on Kiva at present. Kiva is adding 5,000 new members per week and it seems that the greater availability of money is outpacing the availability of loans. Or it may be that this is just a slower time of year for loans.

18th January 2009

I made my 2nd Kiva loan today to Margot in Peru. Margot grows gladioli (!), peas and potatoes. As the price of oil has gone down, so has the price of fertilizer. Margot wants to take advantage of this, hence her loan request.

As mentioned above, there are fewer loans available on Kiva lately. As each new loan appears, it is quickly financed. One has to keep refreshing the web page to quickly learn about new loans and immediately pounce on any loan of interest before it becomes fully funded by others. As a consequence, because I was trying to do things in a hurry, I made a mistake. I chose Margot’s loan because, in accordance with my plan, it had a 5-month term, much shorter than the other loans available. After I had made my $25 commitment, I noticed that Margot is not due to repay anything until the end of her loan period! Oh, well, live and learn. It’s reasonable that she has to wait for the harvest!


23rd January 2009

The lack of new loans on Kiva seems to have ended. Today there were over 600 new loans to choose from! I took advantage of this and, deciding to diversify out of Peru, made my 3rd Kiva loan to Bolivia. The loan was to the Roxana Vanesa Torrejon Callapa Group, also know as the "Domingo de Ramos" group. It is made up of 12 members who are merchants in the "Vibora Negra" market in San José where they sell products such as clothing and food. The loan will be used exclusively to expand their businesses by buying goods and foodstuffs as well as in repairing their display stalls.

2nd February 2009

When entrepreneurs in undeveloped countries need a loan, they go to their local micro-loaning organization. The staff in the organization assure themselves that the entrepreneur has a viable business and has the ability to repay the loan. A description of the loan is then created and sent to Kiva.

These descriptions are often not in English. Even if they are in English, that is usually not the country’s mother tongue and so there may be grammatical and spelling errors. The loan descriptions therefore go first to a Kiva translator or editor before they go live on the U.S.-based Kiva website.

Due to the incredible success of Kiva and the resulting increase in workload, Kiva recently advertised for people to apply for unpaid, volunteer, translating and editing jobs with Kiva. I decided to apply. Although I can translate French with some difficulty, I didn’t think my skill was up to the level needed for the job. On the other hand, editing English is something that I can do, even though I have no formal training. A good British high-school education in the 50’s drilled that stuff into me! So I applied.

Today I heard back from Kiva. They sent me an editing test - some sample text which I was to edit and return. The idea was to correct any spelling or grammatical errors without changing the flavour of the original and without adding or deleting any facts. I did my best on it and sent it back.

25th February 2009

Click here to see a summary of all my loans on the Kiva website

Click on the photo to see details of Margot’s loan application.

Click on the photo to see details of my 3rd loan.

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