Topics included Jessica’s time in the field while at Kiva and what she learned from the entrepreneurs she met, the trend of savings, the story behind the title of her book (hint: it’s about an entrepreneur), the importance of providing for families, microfinance, crowdfunding, how Jessica decided to include her personal life in the book, managing risk based on a bad experience, and making decisions with the “head and heart.” Jessica says she is now consulting with companies on how to support working mothers, is on the board of nonprofits and has another project in the works she can’t share yet. “I want to get back to alleviating poverty,” she says.
A short excerpt:
Sally: Kiva is approaching $1 billion and in sharing many metrics about borrowers, lenders and reporting repayment rates consistently on its web site, that doesn’t tell the story of Kiva’s impact. How are you going about the challenge of seeing whether Kiva’s loans actually alleviate poverty?
Jessica: Kiva does a great job of providing a window of how the field partners actually work. There are a handful of markers of social impact and the organizations explain what that looks like to them, such as training, prioritization of women…Change happens in ways we can measure quantitatively. Not just repayment rates. I get excited about the touchy-feely story stuff; I love seeing the stories speak for themselves. I have met people whose businesses failed after getting the loans but their lives are still changed for the better and they are grateful for that opportunity…Maybe they are now much better equipped to take a bigger swing at things and get it right…I’ve seen changes in their confidence because of going through the training and the program that goes along with a loan…It’s in the mission that poverty alleviation …but I also think about the impact in the lives of lenders. To participate and believe great things are possible is a good thing for the world…
Skoll Awardee Premal Shah of Kiva sat down with The Guardian for a Q and A about what’s new. The interview covered everything from Premal’s childhood trips to India (he’s from Minnesota) to their new Kenya office and some pilot programs Kiva is trying there.
“What is your vision for the organisation and how are you ensuring it evolves and adapts?
We opened an office in Kenya last year – it is important to have a hub in Africa given that we work with many field partners there and it will help us to be more plugged in to local trends.
We are currently piloting mobile payments which will allow us to send money directly to borrowers instead of through a field partner, using Kenya’s mobile-phone-based money transferring system M-pesa. The vision, ultimately, is to create a global community of partners who will help to alleviate poverty through business, one person at a time.”
Skoll Awardee Medic Mobile is among five organizations chosen for a startup accelerator, Fast Forward. Another Skoll Foundation connection: Sal Khan of Khan Academy and Premal Shah of Kiva are among Fast Forward’s supporters. Read part of the formal announcement below:
Fast Forward is excited to announce the organizations participating in this summer’s accelerator program. The groups in this inaugural class leverage technology (open source software, always connected devices, inexpensive variable cost web infrastructure, APIs for most anything) to address health, education, and poverty issues in the Bay Area and around the globe:
Medic Mobile: Mobile communication platform for remote health workers, started in a Stanford dorm room and now helping reach the 1B people who will never see a doctor in their lives
MoneyThink: Tech-enhanced personal finance mentorship for under served teens, targeting those under 25 (America’s fastest growing group filing for bankruptcy) read more
This weekend, two Skoll Foundation staffers, plus 150 college and high school student leaders and educators from around the world, are at the first-everKiva USummit in San Francisco. So it seems fitting to share more Kiva news.
Kiva and fellow Skoll awardee Fair Trade USA have partnered to offer an agricultural lending platform for coffee farmers. More about it from Fair Trade USA:
“October is Fair Trade Month, a time to celebrate the 1.3 million farmers and workers around the world who grow and sew the Fair Trade products we love. It’s also a time to celebrate the NGOs and brands working day-in and day-out to help farming communities build better businesses, and better lives. That’s why we’re proud to announce our partnership with nonprofit organization Kiva. Building on a pilot program launched in 2012, we’re expanding our collaboration to help small-scale coffee farmers access financing, improve crop quality, protect the environment, and invest in the future of their families and communities.
Citi Microfinance and Kiva are launching Kiva U, a new program to engage students and educators in a global effort to expand financial inclusion and foster community among the next generation of change makers. Kiva U is an ambitious initiative to build, strengthen and connect school-based microfinance clubs across the nation, develop teaching tools for experiential learning across education levels, and foster leadership among students active in social enterprise, international development and financial inclusion. College students, high school students and educators are encouraged to connect with peers from across the nation by joining Kiva U at www.kivau.org and by following Kiva U on social media.
New technologies, like those leveraged by Kiva, are enabling young people to engage as global citizens in ways that were impossible even just a few years ago. However, few platforms exist for meaningful interaction and resource sharing among students and educators on issues of global poverty alleviation and financial inclusion. With $450,000 in support from Citi Microfinance, Kiva U aims to fill this gap with a fully built-out education program aimed at significantly broadening Kiva’s existing student and educator engagement through three core initiatives: read more
The Washington Post just did a story on Kiva‘s “evolving microlending model.” An excerpt: “Microlending nonprofit Kiva.org started out helping entrepreneurs in emerging economies such as Cambodia and Ghana take out low-interest, $25 loans from groups of Internet users anywhere in the world.In the past couple of years, the San Francisco-based nonprofit has shifted its focus to American entrepreneurs, attempting to bring its microlending model here.It’s been a work in progress.
While the average loan outside the United States is $400, Kiva has found that the average request inside this country is around $7,000. Many of those do not have the credit to qualify for a traditional loan, President Premal Shah said. ‘We’re going back to the problem statement,’ he said. In conversation with entrepreneurs all over the country, Shah learned, ‘Capital is always in their top three needs.’
Kiva’s activity in Washington could be a microcosm for how the microlending site is tinkering with its model. The nonprofit has been experimenting with an initiative called KivaZip, an effort in which community ‘trustees’ vouch for an entrepreneur’s character in order to seek zero-interest loans from lenders on the Kiva site.”
Mother’s Day is on Sunday, so we thought it fitting to share parts of some awardee messages:
There are nearly three billion adults worldwide who lack basic financial services, and most of them are women. Take Clenda from Litein Town in Kenya: she is a 24-year-old mother of two who has been in the farming business for over 6 years. Through one of Kiva’s partners, Juhudi Kilimo, Clenda received a $300 loan to purchase a dairy cow that allows her to sell milk in the local market. She uses the extra income to pay for her children’s education and help increase the overall quality of life for her family.
By lending as little as $25 on Kiva, anyone can help offer opportunity to women worldwide. This Mother’s Day, help spread the word about how Kiva.org, the world’s leading microlending platform, gives us all a chance to make a big difference for women, families and communities. Thank the nurturers in your life by giving them a Kiva Card — $25 to lend to any borrower they choose — to help individuals around the world realize their potential. Visit www.kiva.org/gifts.
From mothers2mothers (video above):
With our double your mommy campaign, you can tell your mother or an important woman in your life how special she is by making a donation to mothers2mothers in her name that will have twice the impact! Every donation we receive for U.S. Mother’s Day will be doubled with a matching gift by an anonymous donor up to a total of $25,000. In acknowledgement, we will send her a Mother’s Day e-card with a special video message from some of the inspiring mothers we work with or a card by mail. It’s easy to double your mommy here. read more
Water.org and Kiva are included in the new “Facebook Gifts.” Here’s part of the official press release from Water.org:
In today’s online world, conversations begin and life events are celebrated on social platforms like Facebook. Whether the events happen to be birthdays, weddings, graduations, or holidays, more than ever before, people are looking to devote these events to the causes they support. Water.org is excited to be included in today’s introduction of charitable giving through Facebook Gifts, the social platform’s recently launched product that enables real-time gift giving through Facebook. read more
We love it when two Skoll awardees partner with each other — and two did just that recently. Here’s the press release:
LAHORE: Microfinance Institution Kashf Foundation announced its partnership with global non-profit organisation Kiva, a platform dedicated to connecting global audiences through online lending.
The association will provide funds for on-lending to give a higher number of loans to female entrepreneurs of low income households.
Kiva lets individuals lend as low as $25 to help create opportunity around the world and ensures that every dollar lent goes directly towards funding loans. The organisation has committed to a facility of $3.2 million over the next two years which it will raise through online donations. read more
Kiva is now making loans in Los Angeles, and started with cash for 13 small businesses including an ice cream cart, a health food cafe (the site of their press conference) and a P.I. who needed money to market his services.
Everyone from the Los Angeles Times to Inc. covered the story, as the Skoll Awardee/microlending site makes most loans outside the U.S. Its Kiva City program began last year when it started funding businesses in Detroit, and New Orleans.
She answered questions about the foundation’s new collaborative approach to change, how the term “social entrepreneur” has evolved, and so much more (the story is six Internet pages long!) Here’s an excerpt: read more
Social entrepreneurship is more market-driven, measurement-oriented, and corporate-friendly than ever before, writes Jason Saul, a consultant who attended the Skoll World Forum. In his latest, thoughtful piece in Stanford Social Innovation Review, Saul gives examples of social entrepreneurs such as Skoll Awardees Kiva, Riders for Health, Roots of Peace, Peace Dividend Trust (now “Building Markets”) and Water for People. An excerpt:
“Measurement is no longer optional. Measurement had its big coming out party at Skoll this year as the foundation announced its first attempt at portfolio-level measurement. The language and references this year were different too. In past years, there was always talk of ‘effectiveness’ and ‘accountability,’ but this year, I heard more about ‘returns,’ ‘moving the needle,’ and measuring ‘value.’ …I had a fascinating conversation with Andrea Coleman of Riders for Health who found the Skoll Foundation’s focus on outcomes liberating from the regime of randomized control trials imposed by other funders.”
Skoll Awardee Kiva has partnered with a company called Silatech to help young Arab entrepreneurs. Silatech will now match anyone’s loans to these entrepreneurs—which include a cosmetics salesman in Iraq, a clothing boutique owner in Jordan, and a construction supplier in Lebanon— up to $125,00. Here’s more, from Kiva’s Web site:
“The Arab world is home to millions of young people with hopes, plans, and the desire to work. Unfortunately, there simply aren’t enough jobs. The result: Millions of young adults set out to make a living on their own, despite low incomes and often dangerous conditions. For many of these entrepreneurs, the only thing standing between subsistence and income-generating activities to build thriving, sustainable businesses is a lack of reliable, affordable capital. But where too many financial institutions see young people as a risk, Kiva and Silatech see an opportunity. read more
Want to help a small farmer in Kenya? Here’s a new, easy way to do it — on Kiva.org. If you’ve never used Kiva, the Skoll awardee has traditionally been a microfinance funder focusing on microfinance insitutions. But now, it’s expanded to non-traditional partnerships, and the latest is with One Acre Fund in Kenya (also a Skoll Awardee). OAF works with — you guessed it — farmers that own about an acre of land. It helps them make that land more suitable for planting so that they can not only feed their families, but sell the surplus.
When you log on to Kiva, you’ll see the One Acre Fund farmers in groups: Kiva will fund ones who have enrolled in OAF’s program, and OAF delivers a “market bundle” package to these groups that includes seed, fertilizer, and crop insurance. You’ll know you’re working with an organization with a track record: OAF already has confirmed a 102 percent average gain in profitability on each acre, and serves 73,000 families in Kenya and Rwanda. It’s expanding at a rate of around 100 percent per year.
Today at 2 p.m. GMT, Skoll Foundation CEO Sally Osberg answered questions in a live chat on the Bellagio Initiative web site. An excerpt:
Q: ‘Can bottom-up entrepreneurs help major international top-down corporations become more startup friendly?’ SO: Great question! Happily, social entrepreneurs are the answer…I want to underscore that social entrepreneurs partner with their stakeholders and communities; it’s their MO in fact…lots of folks think that social entrepreneurs are lone rangers, but they are anything but. Think of the “social” in social entrepreneur as not just describing the why and what–a status quo that leads to oppression, marginalization and victimization of human beings, communities and populations, the goal of social benefit and value, but also the “how,” a way of working with those served.
A new Detroit News article stresses the importance of crowdfunding, and Skoll Awardee Kiva is mentioned. An excerpt:
“Like other microlending efforts, crowdfunding is a way for like-minded people to support small businesses, artists and community events by giving money through the Internet with sites such as Kickstarter, IndieGoGo and Kiva….’I recommend crowdfunding to everybody, I really do,” said Jack Miner, entrepreneurial coach at TechTown, the Wayne State University Research and Technology Park. ‘It’s probably the most important thing that’s happened to startup investing — maybe ever.'”
Kiva is a non-profit organization with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. Leveraging the internet and a worldwide network of microfinance institutions, Kiva lets you lend as little as $25 to help create opportunity around the world. For example, an Iraqi mini market owner is trying to raise $2,000 to expand his food offerings and grow his business.
Skoll grantee Kiva has announced that it is extending its reach though a $1 million partnership with Visa. Smaller than traditional bank loans, microloans can be used to expand operations, upgrade equipment, and hire and retain employees. read more
Kiva.org recently announced that it is extending its global microlending marketplace to education by adding student microloans on its site. With the Student Microloans pilot, anyone can lend as little as $25 to students in Paraguay, Bolivia, and Lebanon. Founded as a means to combine the impact of microfinance with the utility of technology, Kiva is in a unique position to help lenders make a personal difference, first with small business microloans and now with student microloans. You can learn more about the new program here. Kiva’s Co-Founder and CEO Matt Flannery and its President, Premal Shah, are Skoll social entrepreneurs.