Kiva in Your Local Community

How can I use Kiva in my local community?

Many lenders find that making loans through Kiva is a unique, engaging, and socially responsible way to focus their own energy and that of their local communities.

  • Lending through Kiva allows your money to go further than 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 groups to make loans together and track their collective impact over time.

Real stories of lenders using Kiva in their local communities

Kiva Kiwis

Kiva Kiwis is group of friends in New Zealand who have come together to lend and spread the word about Kiva. In addition to forming “Team Kiwi” on Kiva, we have a website - kivakiwis.org, we give Kiva gift certificates, and we organize group loans.

We call our group loans “Infinity Loans.” The way our “Infinity Loans” work is we organize a group of people in our city of Oamaru – whether it be a workplace or club or church group – to collectively raise at least the minimum for one loan (right now that is about NZ $43). It usually only comes down to a few dollars per person. One person in the group is dubbed the treasurer of the loan and is in charge of loaning it via Kiva and keeping the group informed. The reason it is called an “Infinity Loan” is that the loaned funds are never withdrawn. The lenders keep re-loaning the funds via Kiva each time a loan matures. We Kiva Kiwis are particularly interested in having children be the treasurers (with the assistance of an adult’s credit card), selecting the borrowers and making the loans.

— Finn, Kiva Kiwis Lending Team Captain, Oamaru, New Zealand

Emma's Chocolate Spoons

I was assigned a Community Action Project at school, and the goal was to help poverty around the world. I asked my aunt Margie for assistance in finding a good organization to support that was poverty related. She mentioned a website to visit: Kiva.org. She had received a gift certificate from her son, and apparently she had made seven loans already. I went to the computer after a hasty dinner, and my heart went out to Kiva.

In June I counted my money for a one hundred dollar loan. I raised my money primarily by selling a treat made by melting Fair Trade chocolate and letting it harden on plastic spoons. Complete with a marshmallow and peppermint, “Magic Spoons” made a great addition to hot chocolate. I made an account on Kiva, looking at different entrepreneurs. I noticed one man from the country called Tajikistan; I had never heard of that place before. I found out that he was a farmer, and needed money to ensure a good life for his two kids. I had a feeling that he would be able to pay back money efficiently, and have been right so far.

To this day I have been using Kiva as my access to the world beyond California’s central coast. I feel that micro-lending to a specific person is a fantastic way to be connected to those around the world by making sure that they have stable income without making them feel like the underdog or in debt. I love the feeling of changing someone’s life for the better, and if you don’t, my aunt Marge will have a few strong words to say to you.

— Emma, Los Osos, CA, USA

Abundance Sharing Group, Yokosuka, Japan

Two years ago, I started a monthly Abundance Sharing Afternoon at my home by the ocean. At the March 2007 gathering, I asked the participants to bring something for an auction – just items from around the house that they no longer needed or wanted. There were 9 of us, we auctioned off the items we brought to each other, and we spent the last hour together looking for a borrower to loan the proceeds to. Can you imagine 8 women trying to decide on one loan? We did agree that it should be someone with work related to agriculture, and found a young woman in Azerbaijan who wanted to buy another cow with her loan to expand her dairy business.

The auction was such fun, I decided to have one each month. By recycling stuff hidden away in nooks and crannies, we’ve been able to help fund 60 loans over the last year and a half!!
 

Even if it’s only one person at a time, Kiva is the perfect tool to bring the world of the working poor into the consciousness of those who can help. Living in Japan and being bilingual gives me the opportunity to assist in this cause, and I love absolutely every minute of it!

— Leslie, Yokosuka, Japan

Create a Lending Team for your local area

People in Kiva Lending Teams

You can create a Lending Team for your local area group to track all of your lending activity in one place and to be part of growing community of local area 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.

Useful links:

Examples of community 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 outreach@kiva.org.

Videos

Children smiling

Uganda: A Little Goes A Long Way, is a 15 minute documentary piece in which PRI's Clark Boyd travels to Uganda to meet Kiva entrepreneurs and see Kiva in action. Watch the video

Presentation Materials

Snapshot of kiva presentation

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

Brochure

Snapshot of Printable Kiva brochure

This brochure gives a light overview of microfinance, and how Kiva works. Download a .pdf.

Click here to view the brochure online.