Kiva conducts regular, ongoing monitoring of all Field Partners, but only posts status updates here in response to relevant, major changes at the partner.

Status update — June 20, 2017
Kiva and iSmart have agreed to wind down their partnership so that iSmart can focus on making their core business sustainable without the operational challenges of managing a lending program, and this partner has been moved to Inactive status. This Field Partner has committed to repaying its outstanding balance to Kiva in full according to a repayment plan, whereby they make small repayments to Kiva lenders each month. Kiva staff remain in regular contact with iSmart and receive monthly status updates from the institution.

Partner description:

iSmart Kenya is a nonprofit organization in Kenya that creates jobs for youth by leveraging market demand for difficult-to-access, life-improving technologies in slum communities. Through iSmart Kenya, youth living in poverty earn an income and gain the professional skills required for a lifetime of employment.

According to the World Bank, youth unemployment is a major challenge that could critically hamper Kenya’s prosperity and progress toward its goals set for 2030. Today, about 400,000 youth in Kenyan slums are jobless and live in poverty. Youth living in slums lack marketable skills and work, but have potential and ambition. iSmart Kenya gives both men and women ages 18 to 35 the chance to earn a livelihood, improve their employability and increase their quality of life. For young men, this can mean leaving a dangerous gang life behind. For young women, this can mean later marriage and childbirth.

In 2011, the organization opened its first retail shop in a Nairobi slum. This shop has served as a central hub for over 80 youth sales representatives. They have sold thousands of solar lamps, clean cookstoves and reusable sanitary pads, generating almost US $100,000 in revenue. These products improve the lives of the people who buy them and the youth who sell them. Kiva lenders’ funds are used to help iSmart Kenya achieve greater impact in two key ways: 1) by mitigating the risk of supply gaps and 2) by improving the ability to scale the model and expand into new slums.

A unique lending approach:

To date, 61%, of the youth that received iSmart Kenya training are employed. All of its sales representatives report to the shop at 8 a.m. daily, in uniform. After a sales coaching meeting, they bring in cash or mobile payment receipts from the previous day's sales. They then exchange or replenishes their daily $75 consignment of products. Sales representatives earn commissions that are disbursed in a monthly paycheck.

The organization aims to ensure that at least 75% of all former sales agents are employed or are in school after an iSmart Kenya intervention. It does so by evaluating each youth on an impact scorecard that includes qualitative and quantitative impact indicators including, but not limited to: employment status, income level, savings, acquired professional skills, employment classification, and months unemployed since iSmart Kenya’s intervention.

iSmart Kenya works with award-winning social enterprises that manufacture life-changing products including D.Light, Paradigm Initiatives and Barefoot Power. They also partner with mobile payment companies like Kopo Kopo and M-PESA. iSmart Kenya has received prestigious awards and fellowships including the Mara Foundation Entrepreneurship Award, the Global Catalyst Initiative Award from Global Agents for Change, the Cordes Fellowship, the Global Social Benefit Incubator Fellowship, and the Unreasonable Institute Fellowship for Social Innovation.

iSmart Kenya joined Kiva through our Experimental Partnership Program, and has therefore received a lighter level of due diligence. Accordingly, loans associated with this partner carry a higher level of risk than typical Kiva loans.


Repayment Performance on Kiva

    This Field Partner All Kiva Partners
  Start Date On Kiva Dec 17, 2013 Oct 12, 2005
Total Loans $122,150 $994,173,925
Amount of raised Inactive loans $0 $246,850
Number of raised Inactive loans 0 286
Amount of Paying Back Loans $34,550 $153,984,725
Number of Paying Back Loans 29 196,046
Amount of Ended Loans $87,600 $839,942,350
Number of Ended Loans 48 1,055,629
Delinquency Rate 82.90% 8.66%
Amount in Arrears $19,836 $8,865,405
Outstanding Portfolio $23,929 $102,333,532
Number of Loans Delinquent 29 30,827
Default Rate 16.58% 1.42%
Amount of Ended Loans Defaulted $14,524 $11,900,367
Number of Ended Loans Defaulted 7 34,261
Currency Exchange Loss Rate 0.30% 0.45%
Amount of Currency Exchange Loss $362 $4,517,245
Refund Rate 0.00% 0.60%
Amount of Refunded Loans $0 $5,985,075
Number of Refunded Loans 0 6,003

Loan Characteristics On Kiva

    This Field Partner All Kiva Partners
  Loans to Women Borrowers 52.94% 75.51%
Average Loan Size $1,071 $398
Average Individual Loan Size $1,168 $627
Average Group Loan Size $3,644 $1,756
Average number of borrowers per group 3.8 7.7
Average GDP per capita (PPP) in local country $1,800 $5,871
Average Loan Size / GDP per capita (PPP) 59.53% 6.78%
Average Time to Fund a Loan 15.87 days 6.92 days
Average Dollars Raised Per Day Per Loan $67.53 $57.53
  Average Loan Term 14.16 months 11.13 months

Journaling Performance on Kiva

    This Field Partner All Kiva Partners
  Total Journals 13 519,327
  Journaling Rate 17.10% 41.10%
  Average Number of Comments Per Journal 0.00 0.05
  Average Number of Recommendations Per Journal 0.00 1.14

Borrowing Cost Comparison (based on 2016 data)

    This Field Partner Median for MFI's in Country All Kiva Partners
  Average Cost to Borrower 0% APR 36.00% PY 26.33% PY
  Profitability (return on assets) N/A 0.5% -1.14%
  Average Loan Size (% of per capita income) N/A 56.00% 16.31%

Country Fast Facts

Field Partner Staff

Maria Springer