Seven Years with Kiva

Hey World,

Today I wanted to share a bit about one of my favorite ways to give - Kiva. Kiva is an online platform where you can upload money to lend to small entrepreneurs or groups, aggregated from reputable micro-finance organizations around the globe. The best part? When you're repaid, you can re-lend the funds, again and again. 

Here's my story.


I gave my first Kiva loan in November of 2009, after being encouraged to sign up on my campus quad by another GWU student. 

I signed up with just $25, and gave it to a dressmaker in Togo. It took 14 months for Rosalie to pay me back. When she did, I re-lent it to Tenedje, a food market vendor in Mali for a year. When he repaid, my $25 then circulated to Amina, who ran a food stall in Kenya. Amina was the first person to default on her loan. 

In my first three years with Kiva, $25 (the equivalent of a dinner out on campus at the Thai restaurant, or a new dress from Forever 21) pinged across the African continent, and facilitated opportunities for three small entrepreneurs. 

I didn't miss the money.


In 2013, I tried a new Kiva program, "Zip", which are smaller loans ($5-$10) for American entrepreneurs. They all ended in default -- which is insanely uncommon, but I lost most of my $25. It took a year for my pride to recover, but last spring I read The International Bank of Bob during our DRC trip, and came away realizing that my $25 across four years had a decent run, and it was time to re-invest.

So in March of 2016, I put $75 into my account and picked loans with shorter repayment windows (to help keep my money circulating). That first go-around, I chose a women's group in Nicaragua and two women entrepreneurs in the Philippines, Lucita & Zenaida

When they all repaid, the money went back in for a group in Rwanda, Laos, and a farmer in Armenia. My Rwanda loan has finished repaying, and I re-invested in Shabana, a home product saleswoman in Pakistan.

Over the weekend, I reached $25 re-paid credit again, and re-lent it to Agim from Albania, who is seeking a loan to make improvements to his stables. 

All in all, I've given Kiva $99 of my money. In seven years, I've turned that $99 into $300 (tripling the value), which has funded 15 loans in 11 countries...and counting! By July, I'll get enough repayments to re-lend two more times.
It's also fun to browse who to give to next: you can choose by organization, sector, country, or those near/far from their goal. Sometimes, you can even find a 2x opportunity, where a private donor or sponsor organization will match whatever you give for double the impact!


Kiva is a really easy, non-expensive way to facilitate opportunities for those around the world with big dreams over and over again, and allowing individuals to create their own impact for their families and their communities. If you have a classroom, or a family with young kids, Kiva may be an interesting way to explore the challenges others may be facing, but also the vast amount of opportunity we can share by supporting them to improve their own lives.

If you're interested, you can join here to find out more, and sign up. (Using this link pings me to let me know I've encouraged someone else to give too!) Join a huge community of lenders & borrowers, with almost one billion dollars of money circulating since 2005.

I am so thankful for my journey with Kiva thus far, and am looking forward to the chance to continue supporting entrepreneurs around the world for years to come.


* You can click on any of the names or countries mentioned above to read more about the specific people & groups I supported!
* All images shown above are from the Kiva website -- 

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