january kiva

Kamala Muradova and our new cow

I’ve been lending on Kiva for a few months now, and here are some random thoughts.

  • Increasing the amount of money you have in play every month makes lending a lot more fun. In other words, say you only want to put in $25 / month. On that first loan, you agonize about which budding entrepreneur is going to be the grateful recipient of your jawesome United States dollars. The second month, the same thing happens. And the third month too. But after a while, the borrowers start repaying the loans, and then you find yourself with an increasing amount of Kiva credit in addition to the new money you add every month. When the repaid money reaches $25, I just loan it out again, and in this manner, I can make multiple loans to multiple people every month, which reduces the mental effort of trying to figure out who is the most worthiest recipient, and instead, you just start making loans to any person who sounds like they have a decent chance of using your money wisely.
  • I make my loans count for the Kiva atheist team. By doing so, I’m helping provide real data on a demographic that is supposedly America’s least trusted group. On Kiva, the atheists dominate in terms of absolute magnitude of loans disbursed. If I had to guess why, I’d say that there really isn’t anywhere else for atheists to come together and be counted as one group. It’s not like we have a church or anything. In the global sense, $3.3M still seems pitiably small compared to religious charity, but it’s a start.
  • On a related note, I use the Chrome plugin described on the team blog to identify religiously-affiliated lenders and avoid them. I don’t know what the situation on the ground is like, whether the lenders proselytize the borrowers, or whether the borrowers even care or not, but to me, the less religion is involved, the better.
  • I predominantly loan to women in countries where the prevailing religion is Islam.
  • I prefer to lend to people trying to create service businesses, rather than retail. If you can make money because of something you know or something you can do, it’s better than making money because of something you have.

And now with the preaching out of the way, some notes on my new January loans.

  • Kamala Muradova hails from Azerbaijan and needs 2000 AZN to buy cows and increase the amount of milk from which she makes different kinds of cheeses and sells it to her neighbors who are very satisfied with the quality and taste of the product.
  • Aijamal Kylychbek is an industrious 20-year old who wants to purchase a bull calf for breeding.
  • MarĂ­a Ermelinda Bueno Paucar, a lovely Ecuadorian woman, will invest in the purchase of pigs to raise. She also raises cattle and makes cheese and owns pigs and chickens that she sells in the community. Not bad for a 60-year old!
  • and finally, Marouan is the first man I’ve loaned to, and he is very passionate and diligent in his work at the car garage. He wants to purchase multiple cars, presumably to fix them up, and sell them in order to purchase a home and provide his family with a comfortable lifestyle. Well done, Marouan from Lebanon.

Obviously, if you’re reading this, I think you should be lending on Kiva too. It’s easy and rewarding and the right thing to do. Will you join me?