Kiva and Your Faith
Connecting Kiva with Faith-based Groups
How can I connect Kiva with my faith-based group?
Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. Kiva borrowers already know how to fish. They just need a loan to buy a net.
Helping the poor is a theme present in many religions and a variety of faiths, and is a concept that brings people together of all different backgrounds around the world.
Kiva is an engaging way for you and your faith-based group to help the poor, and have a large impact over time.
- Lending through Kiva allows your money to go further than making a one-time donation. When your loan is repaid, you can withdraw the money or make another loan. The same funds can be loaned and re-loaned over and over again, so the impact grows over time without funding having to grow.
- Kiva is a personal and direct means of alleviating poverty and making a difference across the world today. You can browse loan requests from entrepreneurs around the globe by region, gender, business description, – and you choose who to lend to.
- Kiva’s new Lending Teams feature allows faith-based groups to make loans together and track their collective impact over time.
Real stories of connecting Kiva with faith-based groups
Kiva resonated with me while watching 'Uganda: A Little Goes a Long Way' on PBS/Frontline in December (2006). Grace and her peanut butter story made a huge impact.
Then our first sermon in 2008 was, 'What is your vision for 2008?' The next sermon was "Micah 6:8: Do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with your God". At that point I realized that I was being 'nudged' to share the Kiva story.
I decided to form a 'Kiva Krew' and share the story. Our pastors have been fully supportive from the very beginning and encouraged me to share Kiva with the congregation often!
A goal of 100 loans by July was established. To visualize our progress, I mounted a World Map in the church. Every time a loan is made a "Red Dot" is placed in the borrower's country. We met our goal of '100 Red Dots' in May and now have nearly 200 loans and re-loans. I email weekly updates to the 'Kiva Krew' telling them of our progress. Every email ends with: 'Each of us can make a difference in the world!'
Kiva has provided the inspiration for our 'Kiva Krew' to make a connection and help other individuals around the world!
— Richard, First Lutheran Community Church of Port Orchard, WA, US
"The great Jewish legal philosopher Maimonides says that the highest form of tzedakah is to help people no longer need charity. He reminds us that while feeding the hungry is important, so too is helping people become self-sufficient. I lend through Kiva to fulfill this mitzvah. It's a great way to help, loan by loan, to build a world where fewer people are hungry and in need.
It also connects me to my Jewish heritage in another way: the people who I lend to are small farmers and trades people, like my ancestors were before they came to America and prospered. If Kiva were around then, my ancestors would be the ones applying for loans. The people who borrow from Kiva's partners are far away, in countries that I rarely think about. But Kiva helps me to keep in mind that they too are individuals created in God's image, and that it is a Jewish imperative to help them."
— Joel, Kiva Jews' Lending Team Captain, Lexington, MA, USA
"The Outreach Ministry of Edmonds United Methodist Church in Edmonds, Washington, maintains elimination of global poverty as one of its major focus areas. The Ministry has traditionally supported mission activities, Play Pump purchases, Heifer.org, 10,000 Villages, etc. In researching additional opportunities, Ministry members reviewed books including The End of Poverty by Jeffrey Sachs, and Banker to the Poor and Creating a World Without Poverty by Muhammad Yunus.
These books provided members insight into microlending as an effective way to attack poverty. With a traditional donation, a person or group of people is helped, but the money is gone. With microlending, however, people are helped to help themselves and then are hopefully taken off the roles of the impoverished. Furthermore, the loaned money is recycled, helping more and more people - how powerful!
These readings and discussions inspired our church to search for ways to be more involved in micro-lending, and led members to Kiva, which they see as a most effective, efficient, and human way to mechanize microlending. As a result, members set up a church Kiva lending team to rally and motivate the entire congregation (800+) to band together as a community of faith and support micro-lending as an expression of that faith."
— Sandy and Bob, Edmonds United Methodist Church, WA, USA
"One of Buddha's followers, Ananda, once asked him, 'Would it be true to say that the cultivation of loving kindness and compassion is a part of our practice?' To which the Buddha replied, 'No. It would not be true to say that the cultivation of loving kindness and compassion is part of our practice. It would be true to say that the cultivation of loving kindness and compassion is all of our practice.'
Kiva helps me in my practice by allowing me to directly assist people all over the world. Although it's no less helpful to give to organizations like the United Way, or directly to non-profit community service organizations, and I encourage everyone to do so, there's a special feeling in knowing who your money is assisting. When I read the biographies and the journal entries, a direct connection is established which I find compelling. I'm also encouraged in my practice by seeing the faces of all the other Kiva lenders from around the world and reading the words they write in their profiles. The world is truly full of generous, loving people.
I also like it that when the folks I loan the money to are done using it, they return it so that I can let someone else use it. It goes farther that way, and I can give a hand to many persons using the single resource. Ideally, all of these people who benefit from the loans will in turn perform acts of loving kindness themselves, and compassionate acts will encompass the Earth and all living creatures upon it will benefit."
— John, Kiva Buddhists' Lending Team Captain, Holly Springs, NC, USA
First United's interest in Kiva grew out of my own involvement which began a couple of years ago after reading a BusinessWeek article about Kiva. In late 2007 I was sharing my enthusiasm about Kiva with the pastor of our church. The 'spark' of Kiva's mission apparently caught and she suggested I present Kiva to the congregation in place of a sermon one morning. So I did a slide presentation a few months later in which I explained the establishment of microfinancing by Dr. Yunus and described the history of Kiva and how it operates. And I thought that would be the end of it for us.
But, the spark again apparently caught and several members approached me afterward asking, 'Is there any way we could do this as a group?' Some don't use the internet, so this was the only way they could participate and several internet-savvy members were also interested.
We formed a separate bank account under the church's name and had our first meeting in June, 2008. We collected several hundred dollars for deposit, and then linked our new bank account to Kiva via PayPal. Using the church's wireless internet connection with my laptop and projector, we as a group accessed Kiva's website and searched out several loan applicants we liked and lent $100 to each. We had another meeting about a month later to review our first loans, collect new money, and do some more lending. We currently have 10 couples and individuals active in the group. We'll probably meet every other month or so now that were past the start-up phase. Several congregation members have also started Kiva lending on their own.
Kiva is an excellent fit for our church because peace and social justice issues, international as well as domestic, are very prominent in our thinking. For its small size, our church is quite generous in its mission program. Since much charitable giving is for short-term disaster relief, we feel that Kiva provides a good balance that enables us to invest in long-term improvement of life for our brethren in developing countries, too. We also like the fact that it enables recipients to use their own initiative in helping themselves and that microlending isn't just another handout.
— Byron, First United Church of Arvada, CO, USA
Create a Lending Team with your faith-based group
You can create a Lending Team for your faith-based group to track all of your lending activity in one place and to be part of growing community of faith-based groups on Kiva.
A lending team is a group of Kiva lenders affiliated with each other as part of a team. Members of Kiva lending teams continue lending as individuals, but they have the added option to count each loan they make towards the overall impact of the team, a great way to share the Kiva experience.
Examples of faith-based Lending Teams already in action!
Tools and Tips
At Kiva we are very interested in better engaging community groups. If you have ideas or materials to share, or if you would like to share your Kiva story, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This presentation (19 slides) is another way that you can introduce your local group to Kiva. It provides an overview of what microfinance is, how traditional microfinance institutions work, and where Kiva fits in. Download the presentation
This brochure gives a light overview of microfinance, and how Kiva works. Download a .pdf.
Click here to view the brochure online.