Help others help themselves with Kiva

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 20/11/2021 (443 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

I have been writing about financial technology for the past decade and I have been fortunate to meet dozens of people who have devoted their lives to using technology to improve the lives of the world’s poorest people. 
These brilliant minds fuse their experience with some combination of mobile technology, the internet, satellites, artificial intelligence, and computer algorithms to devise ways of helping people become self-sufficient.
In the world’s poorest or most remote areas that can be quite a chore. So many things we take for granted in North America — such as clean water, telecommunications, safe roads, banking, and even our health — are luxuries in parts of Africa, Asia, South America and yes, even close to home. Yet these folks labour on, and in many cases are making a clear difference in many lives.
One such organization that has been helping people help themselves for more than 10 years is Kiva (kiva.org), a not-for-profit based in San Francisco. I met one of Kiva’s executives once and have remained in touch.
Kiva crowdfunds loans for people’s most basic needs. For as little as $25, you can support dozens of worthy causes that benefit people with whom you can empathize on some level.
You can help a family send their children to school, start a business or get access to clean water or heat. Filters allow you to help people in specific parts of the world, or those looking needing specific types of assistance such as single parents or businesspeople. Every cent loaned goes to the causes.
Astute readers will notice the use of words such as “loan” and “borrow”. When you support someone on Kiva, they will pay you back. It helps create self-sufficiency and makes your dollars go farther. Kiva has attracted 4.1 million borrowers and 1.9 million lenders who have provided $1.66 billion in loans at a 96.3 per cent repayment rate.
“We believe lending alongside thousands of others is one of the most powerful and sustainable ways to create economic and social good,” Kiva’s website states. 
Working with partners like schools and micro-finance institutions on the ground in these countries, Kiva sources applicants, underwrites them and posts them for supporters to fund. Many campaigns are backed by people and companies who will match support dollar for dollar or even multiple dollars per dollar lent. The money goes far.
In Rwanda, Eliel seeks $1,000 for fabrics and two machines for his tailoring shop, while in Panama Edgar Arquel requires $2,100 for construction materials, chickens and planting supplies. Over in Indonesia, Rumyati’s children need a smart phone to continue their studies because their school was shut down during the pandemic. Hop over to Tajikistan and Zakir needs help with school supplies.
There’s a quote that has been attributed to many from the Navajo Nation to Lao-Tzu but it is so true: 
“Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.”
  
Tony Zerucha is a community correspondent for East Kildonan. Email him at tzerucha@gmail.com

I have been writing about financial technology for the past decade and I have been fortunate to meet dozens of people who have devoted their lives to using technology to improve the lives of the world’s poorest people. 

These brilliant minds fuse their experience with some combination of mobile technology, the internet, satellites, artificial intelligence, and computer algorithms to devise ways of helping people become self-sufficient.

Supplied photo Kenyan corn farmer Hamida Yusra has used microfinance loans from Kiva to help fund his business.

In the world’s poorest or most remote areas that can be quite a chore. So many things we take for granted in North America — such as clean water, telecommunications, safe roads, banking, and even our health — are luxuries in parts of Africa, Asia, South America and yes, even close to home. Yet these folks labour on, and in many cases are making a clear difference in many lives.

One such organization that has been helping people help themselves for more than 10 years is Kiva (kiva.org), a not-for-profit based in San Francisco. I met one of Kiva’s executives once and have remained in touch.

Kiva crowdfunds loans for people’s most basic needs. For as little as $25, you can support dozens of worthy causes that benefit people with whom you can empathize on some level.

You can help a family send their children to school, start a business or get access to clean water or heat. Filters allow you to help people in specific parts of the world, or those looking needing specific types of assistance such as single parents or businesspeople. Every cent loaned goes to the causes.

Astute readers will notice the use of words such as “loan” and “borrow”. When you support someone on Kiva, they will pay you back. It helps create self-sufficiency and makes your dollars go farther. Kiva has attracted 4.1 million borrowers and 1.9 million lenders who have provided $1.66 billion in loans at a 96.3 per cent repayment rate.

“We believe lending alongside thousands of others is one of the most powerful and sustainable ways to create economic and social good,” Kiva’s website states. 

Working with partners like schools and micro-finance institutions on the ground in these countries, Kiva sources applicants, underwrites them and posts them for supporters to fund. Many campaigns are backed by people and companies who will match support dollar for dollar or even multiple dollars per dollar lent. The money goes far.

In Rwanda, Eliel seeks $1,000 for fabrics and two machines for his tailoring shop, while in Panama Edgar Arquel requires $2,100 for construction materials, chickens and planting supplies. Over in Indonesia, Rumyati’s children need a smart phone to continue their studies because their school was shut down during the pandemic. Hop over to Tajikistan and Zakir needs help with school supplies.

There’s a quote that has been attributed to many from the Navajo Nation to Lao-Tzu but it is so true: 

“Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.”

Tony Zerucha is a community correspondent for East Kildonan. Email him at tzerucha@gmail.com

Tony Zerucha

Tony Zerucha
East Kildonan community correspondent

Tony Zerucha is a community correspondent for East Kildonan. Email him at tzerucha@gmail.com

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