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 - September 21, 2021

Kiva and Rent-to-Own (RTO) have agreed to end their partnership after 8 years and more than $393,750 in loans raised. This is due to a severe economic downturn in Zambia and then the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 exacerbating this crisis, dramatically affecting the business and their clients. RTO is faced with closing the business or restructuring to a grant-funded organization in order to maintain their social mission. Kiva has written off RTO's remaining balance of $35,299 to support their continued impact with small-scale entrepreneurs in Zambia. We thank Rent-to-Own for the years of collaboration and wish them success in their future endeavors.

Partner description:

Farmers and rural business owners in Zambia lack access to affordable, available and appropriate equipment for key business ventures such as farming and food production. Without productive assets these entrepreneurs are not able to realize their business potential.

Rent-to-Own is a social enterprise that directly responds to this challenge through a holistic approach: help customers select their assets and provide low-cost distribution, tailored financing options, and training services so that each customer walks away with the assets, knowledge, and skills needed to grow their businesses.

Founded in 2010 with the help of Engineers Without Borders and Forest Fruits Ltd., Rent-to-Own has served more than 2,600 customers, benefiting 13,000+ disadvantaged household members in rural Zambia.

Kiva lenders’ funds will allow Rent-to-Own to further expand its unique asset financing program, reaching more customers in the bottom of the pyramid across rural Zambia. Currently Rent-to-Own operates out of 10 field locations, each serving customers within a 50-km radius. They’re working hard to both increase sales density at each field location and expand geographically in order to bring our rural asset financing solution to thousands of people a year. However, finding financing is difficult because the model – despite being proven – is new. Kiva funding will be used to make this happen. 

A unique lending approach:

Most small business owners in Zambia live hundreds of kilometers away from the capital city, which makes the purchase of equipment costly and challenging. Rent-to-Own uses a product catalogue for customers to purchase equipment needed to grow their businesses and a network of local agents who leverage their social networks to decide if customers are credit-worthy. Once customers are approved, Rent-to-Own provides delivery, installation and training services for their equipment to enable same-day use.

Samuel is a small-scale vegetable farmer from the farming area of Chibombo District, Zambia. He bought an irrigation pump from Rent-to-Own. Since the pump was delivered, Samuel no longer needs to water his crops with buckets by hand. This has allowed him to irrigate a larger portion of land in less time. Samuel said, Rent-to-Own has made his “[…] dream coming true.”


The typical entrepreneur earns less than $2.50/day and employs 2-10 people. Rent-to-Own focuses on entrepreneurs who can generate new revenue with the right tools and equipment, and who are in remote, underserved areas. By sourcing the products on its own and organizing delivery and installation for customers, in most cases they’re able to provide products at a fraction of the cost.

Learn more about Rent-to-Own’s work and impact: 

In addition to providing low-cost assets, financing and a holistic set of support services for these assets, Rent-to-Own delivers a wide variety of trainings ranging from business development to record keeping. These trainings ensure that customers can maximize their earnings from the equipment.

Rent-to-Own joined Kiva through the 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 Mar 1, 2013 Oct 12, 2005
Total Loans $393,750 $1,606,044,595
Amount of raised Inactive loans $0 $343,050
Number of raised Inactive loans 0 389
Amount of Paying Back Loans $0 $163,624,250
Number of Paying Back Loans 0 199,854
Amount of Ended Loans $393,750 $1,442,077,295
Number of Ended Loans 396 1,906,880
Delinquency Rate 0.00% 16.26%
Amount in Arrears $0 $16,550,633
Outstanding Portfolio $0 $101,788,297
Number of Loans Delinquent 0 49,658
Default Rate 20.02% 1.71%
Amount of Ended Loans Defaulted $78,814 $24,614,777
Number of Ended Loans Defaulted 95 61,388
Currency Exchange Loss Rate 2.24% 0.40%
Amount of Currency Exchange Loss $8,819 $7,011,572
Refund Rate 1.47% 0.59%
Amount of Refunded Loans $5,775 $9,477,100
Number of Refunded Loans 4 8,839

Loan Characteristics On Kiva

    This Field Partner All Kiva Partners
  Loans to Women Borrowers 27.93% 77.44%
Average Loan Size $999 $392
Average Individual Loan Size $999 $600
Average Group Loan Size $0 $1,806
Average number of borrowers per group 0 8
Average GDP per capita (PPP) in local country $4,100 $5,675
Average Loan Size / GDP per capita (PPP) 24.36% 6.91%
Average Time to Fund a Loan 2.89 days 8.07 days
Average Dollars Raised Per Day Per Loan $345.83 $48.58
  Average Loan Term 9.51 months 11.35 months

Journaling Performance on Kiva

    This Field Partner All Kiva Partners
  Total Journals 91 977,859
  Journaling Rate 19.59% 42.27%
  Average Number of Comments Per Journal 0.00 0.03
  Average Number of Recommendations Per Journal 0.00 0.67

Borrowing Cost Comparison (based on 2017 data)

    This Field Partner Median for MFI's in Country All Kiva Partners
  Average Cost to Borrower 39% APR 74.00% PY 26.56% PY
  Profitability (return on assets) -97.55% 3.2% -0.53%
  Average Loan Size (% of per capita income) N/A 10.00% 11.35%

Country Fast Facts

Field Partner Staff

Sabina Bharwani
Mumba Chibale
Keddy Chimwanga
Antonio Coelho
Mark Hemsworth
Brian Magee
Lori Manthey
Mumbi Mulaga
Sandra Murre
Jeffrey Scheidegger