Kiva Project: Update, and third donation

Hey Cromrades, I was slacking a bit last month and did not make any contributions to our Kiva project. I’ve since taken the liberty and the initiative, and picked two loans for us to support:

John from Kenya

John, 39 years old, is a mixed crop farmer. He is married to Susan, also a farmer, and they are blessed with two children. He has farmed for the past ten years, earning 7,000 KES a month, and uses his income to support his family. John is applying for a third loan after repaying his previous two loans successfully. He will use the 43,000 KES to buy fertilizer and seedlings for his farm. With the anticipated profits from his farm he will educate his children. His hopes and dreams are to buy a piece of land and build rental houses.

Flor De Quinua Group

The Communal Bank “Flor de Quinua” (Quinoa Flower) is starting its second loan cycle with Pro Mujer as part of the Juan Pablo II Community Center. This group consists of eight members and is led by a Board of Directors headed by Sra. Pascuala. The members of this Communal Bank engage in various businesses in order to get ahead such as selling shoes, knitting sweaters, selling toasted foods, washing cars, making crafts from plaster, selling woven articles, and knitting blankets.

Sra. Pascuala says that she started working Pro Mujer one year ago and joined the organization upon receiving an invitation from a member. She currently has a business producing crafts out of plaster (stucco) where she has worked for some time. Pascuala learned this trade from her son-in-law. The loan she is receiving now will be used to increase her capital for purchasing stucco that she acquires from the distribution shops. She will later sell the products she makes in her community. Working in this manner enables her to generate income to support her family. Pascuala is separated from her spouse and has three children.

Both of these projects were loaned $25.

Also, pay for December came in, so it’s time once again for you to help me spend our money. You’ll notice that $2.50 from the first loan was paid back, so that’s back in the pot. Please take some time and poke around the website, and make a recommendation. I’ll make a decision for 2 loans and announce it on Friday.

For the month of October (the first month this site went live), we made $46.38, and loaned $50.
For the month of November, we made $65.81, and loaned $50.
For the month of December, we made $44.76

Total amount loaned so far: $100
Total loan funds repaid: $2.50
Fund balance: $55.57

Let’s keep it rolling, folks!

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  1. Nentuaby says

    I apologize if this retreads ground covered in old threads (I don’t have time to archive dive right now), but have you looked into the actual charitable efficacy of Kiva? They seem to have problems with the on-the-ground lenders acting on an effectively for profit basis, and the interest rates on these loans are actually pretty eye-popping (near 100%, though commercial loans are much worse yet, if existent, in those areas).

    I don’t have all the science to say whether it’s really doing the good it claims, but I’m… Leery. I’d really like to see someone with investigative journalism Skillz do an analysis.

  2. says

    From what I’ve gleaned (and no, I haven’t looked into this as much as I could), the local partners charge interest based on the cost of operating businesses. Kiva doesn’t police its partners, but it says that they’re on par with the average in each area. The highest I have seen for interest rates is 80% in the DR Congo, but it is certainly conceivable that some partners charge more than 100%. If someone can provide me with the name of a microlending site that does a better job than Kiva, then I will happily switch. It is either that or simply donate the blog proceeds to charity (which I don’t see as being a better option) or keep them (again, not my preference).

  3. Nepenthe says

    That’s funny, I spent about an hour and a half doing research for my Kiva fund and came to the conclusion that my next several loans would be to women’s groups via Pro Mujer. (At least until it is clear whether the Zimbabwean field partner that I did some unwise investing in has actually just made off with my money or whether I’ll be getting some of that back.) I was impressed by their relatively low risk rating and their non-financial services.

    I don’t know if it’s a factor for you, but the field partner that John received his loan through is explicitly religious and is partnered with an evangelizing organization (Worldvision International). I’m not sure whether they force borrowers to sit through sermons or convert or anything that overt, but the wider organization’s mission is to “bear witness to the good news of the Kingdom of God.”

  4. says

    I assuage my guilt over things like that by reminding myself that ultimately the goal is to give “John’s” (the money may not actually go to him specifically) kids a better standard of living. I don’t agree with the religious portion of their mission, but the good outweighs the god in this case (IMO).

    This, incidentally, is why I ask you (readers) to pick the ones you like. I am quite lazy, and my selection criterion is basically “African people and/or women”. Aside from that I don’t really dig too much. I’ll handle the Paypal part – y’all do the research plsnkthx.

  5. Nepenthe says

    Unfortunately, Kiva doesn’t have many secular African field partners and the ones that are there are fairly high risk (but I suppose if your alternative is to give to charity, then risk of default isn’t a huge concern). BRAC has branches in a few especially vulnerable countries (Sierra Leone, Liberia, Uganda, and South Sudan [the branch I especially like because they appear to focus on displaced persons returning to the country]) and they’re secular and well established.

    For what it’s worth, I pick loans by choosing a field partner and then using the “fundraising loans” function to find available loans.

    Apologies. I clearly think too much about this.

  6. says

    You think exactly the right amount. This is important info for me to know, otherwise I’d just rush headlong into the decision. I’ll try to make sure that we pick secular orgs whenever possible. Any others you particularly support?

  7. Nepenthe says

    I really like Fundación Paraguaya. They have a good setup of social programs and have a reach to the very low-income, unlike many microfinance institutes who seem to cater to the (relatively) well off. They do a lot of group loans to young women starting families (it’s not uncommon for the women in the pictures to be pregnant or holding infants); it seems like the overall impact is greater if the living conditions of young children are better than when older people are doing better. (Not that older people don’t deserve to do better too, but I have a very limited fund to work with.)

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