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Kiva-Loans That Change Lives!

All over the world people and small businesses are in need of money, often just as little as $25, (too little for a bank to bother with) and that’s where Kiva comes in! Kiva is an online non-profit organization that sets up small loans, or “microfinancing” between you and someone who needs it. Find out more!

What is Kiva?

Kiva Microfunds (or Kiva.org) was started in 2005 by Matt Flannery and Jessica Jackley who were inspired by a talk they attended at Stanford on “microfinancing” (small loans, often from just one person to another). After working in Africa for some time, Jessica and Matt started interviewing small businesses about their problems getting funding. They decided to come back to the U.S. and try to help people around the world by starting a "microloan" website.

In Swahili the word “Kiva” means “unity”. It's run by a group of people who know all about money, business and technology and helps small businesses in places like Africa get the small loans they need from everyday people (like yourself). These loans are so small, the banks wouldn’t want to bother with them anyway. It can take very little to help a small businesses in another country, as little as $25 sometimes!

How Does it Work?

“Field Partners” working for Kiva go to different countries to find people who needs small loans, and are in charge of handling and giving the money to the person directly. On the Kiva website you can browse through different small businesses and people to see who you would like to donate your money to. When you make a loan, you can then track the person’s progress and get updates on how they are doing! Eventually the borrower repays the loan, and it comes back to your Kiva account, so you can loan the money again or keep it for something else.  Over 300, 000 people have received Kiva loans already!

How Can I Help?

Want to get involved? How about making Kiva a class project? You can help spread the word by telling parents, printing material off the website, and if you’re feeling daring your whole class could make a loan and see just how far across the globe your dollar goes!

Many classrooms get involved in “Lending Teams” which means you and other kids in other schools, or within your school, share in the project.

Kiva's Reasons to Get Involved:

  • Serves as a springboard to learning about everyday life for real people across the world
  • Exposes students to the complex histories and cultures of countries often vastly different to their own
  • Provides practical use of computer skills, in both navigating the Kiva website and using the internet as a research tool
  • Teaches about basic business practices and economic principles
  • Engages students in the practice of microfinance as microlenders
  • Introduces students to the possibilities of social entrepreneurship
  • Empowers students to know they can make a difference in the wider world today

Check out this vid on how Kiva works!        

 

Have Your Say

What do you think of Kiva? Do you want to get your class involved? Visit Kiva.org for more info!

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