• Kiva, Giving the Gift of Opportunity this Christmas

    December 8, 2017 • LIFE

    Kiva Loans - Green Economy

    What is the Kiva organisation and why does Biome support it?

    Kiva is an international non-profit that started in 2005 in San Francisco. Their main aim is to empower impoverished communities and individuals around the globe with dignity. The vehicle for doing this is through ethically managed microloans. This could be for basic survival, to send their children to school or to start their own business, thus breaking the cycle of poverty.

    Visit our Kiva lending team, Green Economy Biome here >

    Lenders can start with as little as $25.00 and can choose an individual or a portfolio to manage risks. The current repayment rate of Kiva loans is sitting at 97% but this can obviously change.

    The Kiva point of difference is that it is crowdfunding as a loan rather a donation. When your loan is repaid you get to decide whether to keep the money or re-loan to another good cause.

    Kiva stringently follows the principles of the Smart Campaign whereby microfinance institutions are urged to protect their clients. This may be through more transparent lending rules, prevention of over-indebtedness, responsible pricing or just plain old better treatment of clients.

    Kiva loans are managed by Field Partners which could be another non-profit, school, microfinance institution or social business. These field partners have a strict vetting process i.e.: ‘display a strong commitment to serving the needs of the poor, vulnerable and/or excluded populations’, ‘be able to post at least $50,000 USD in loans in the first twelve months’ etc. These field partners generally can vouch that the borrower is a good credit risk and can pre-loan to them on credit before the Kiva crowdfunding has finished.

    As this is a sound social support and can lead to things such as access to clean energy, Biome wholeheartedly supports Kiva.

    So how does Biome fit in exactly?

    Back in 2012, Biome launched a Kiva lending team. This was in support of the theme of “World Environment Day, Green Economy: Does it include you? Lending teams are self-organised groups where members connect and rally around shared lending goals.

    As per our beCAUSE page the purpose of our team is “to support a Green Economy. A more sustainable way of doing business – one that results in improved well-being and social equity while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities”.

    Visit our Kiva lending team, Green Economy Biome here >

    How can you get involved?

    Visit kiva.org and when registering your account, nominate your preferred team. We would love you to join our team called Green Economy Biome. Your loan will appear on our community page which then spreads the word about loans around resource efficiency, lowering carbon emissions, organic farming or other projects that aim to stop climate change.

    One Green Economy Biome team member, for example, contributed Asanti’s Group loan. This loan has helped Asanti, Subasini, Kuni of Odisha, India (pictured below) build a new, hygienic toilet with all requisite sanitary fittings attached to it.


    Image: Kiva.org

    With the silly season fast approaching, it’s easy to forget those around the world that need so much help. Sparing $25.00 is a gift to the planet and could help communities around the globe with so little.

    Visit Kiva here >