By Laura Iglehart, Student at Georgetown University
Tired of giving and receiving the same old gift cards? Look no further than Kiva!
This nonprofit organization works with over 60 different countries to alleviate poverty through microfinance loans. When you give a Kiva card, a loan that can be purchased in $25 increments, the receiver becomes a lender who can select how much to loan and which borrower(s) to give the money to. There are over 3,000 borrowers to choose from, who all provide information about their needs and what a loan could do for their individual cases.
Once a borrower is selected, the loan is sent to a Field Partner, a microfinance institute, which administers the loan and oversees the growth of each project. As part of the microfinance project, the borrower provides updates and feedback throughout the life of the loan and also pays back the loan over time.
The money collected from the loan repayment is deposited in a Kiva credit account. With this credit, the lender can fund another loan, donate to Kiva (which does not collect any money from Kiva card transactions or the loan process) or withdraw it as cash.
When you give a Kiva loan, you are not giving someone a sweater they will likely never wear. You are giving networks of people, including the receiver, the opportunity to improve their communities — and the world.
And isn’t that what the holidays all about … the spread of love and hope?
For more information on Kiva and how to purchase a loan, click here.