Kiva loans

Taking Atheism Plus into the wider world.

Kiva loans

Postby hyperdeath » Wed Sep 19, 2012 6:03 pm

Kiva Microfunds is a non-profit organization that allows people to lend money to people in developing countries, via the internet.

Click here to make a loan
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Re: Kiva loans

Postby hyperdeath » Wed Sep 19, 2012 7:00 pm

I've just contributed to a farmer in Peru, who needs fungicide to protect his cocoa and coffee crop.

I'm partly motivated by a desire to hit back at the fungus kingdom, after my tomato plants were wiped out by alternaria solani. Seriously though, it's annoying to see the plants you've tended fall apart and die, and it must be absolutely soul destroying if those plants are your living.
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Re: Kiva loans

Postby SushiQ » Mon Sep 24, 2012 4:30 pm

When you get to Kiva, do join the Atheist team (also known as AASFSHNR...Atheists, Agnostics, Skeptics, Freethinkers, Secular Humanists and the Non-Religious). You can set your default to have all your loans attributed to it.

The A-team has historically lent the most on Kiva. The more, the merrier!

http://www.kiva.org/team/atheists
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Re: Kiva loans

Postby MorgannaLeFey » Wed Sep 26, 2012 10:58 am

I love Kiva. I usually make loans to farmers who raise cocoa. There's a chocolatier here in central Vermont who sources all her cocoa from farmers in South America that are certified to not use slave or forced labor. So in a way I'm supporting my own chocolate habit by supporting these farmers. :)
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Re: Kiva loans

Postby maiforpeace » Wed Sep 26, 2012 12:31 pm

MorgannaLeFey wrote:I love Kiva. I usually make loans to farmers who raise cocoa. There's a chocolatier here in central Vermont who sources all her cocoa from farmers in South America that are certified to not use slave or forced labor. So in a way I'm supporting my own chocolate habit by supporting these farmers. :)


Thanks for the bump! I had some credit and reloaned my money to a couple of cocoa farmers.
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Re: Kiva loans

Postby BillHaines » Wed Sep 26, 2012 5:45 pm

I've heard and read some negatives about Kiva, mostly that many of their go-betweens in developing nations are local loansharks, and their going to some lengths to disguise this fact on the site...?
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Re: Kiva loans

Postby maiforpeace » Wed Sep 26, 2012 6:31 pm

BillHaines wrote:I've heard and read some negatives about Kiva, mostly that many of their go-betweens in developing nations are local loansharks, and their going to some lengths to disguise this fact on the site...?


No, but you do need to pay attention to the microloan institutions themselves and do your due diligence. The whole idea behind Kiva in the first place is to eliminate these loan sharks, not allow them to flourish - but there may be ones that you want to avoid, that are sketchy.

And, there will be good solid ones you can count on to be ethical. Again, you have to do a little homework, check ratings and make comparisons.

Also, if you join the Atheist group, they have excel sheets showing the religious microloan institutions that you can choose to avoid, and they have ongoing discussions about loans all the time, so you can learn from other lenders with more experience.

Much to my delight, there's a microloan bank loaning through Kiva right over the hill in San Jose, so it gives me a lot of satisfaction to loan through a local business - those loans aren't always available, but they are the first ones I look for.
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Re: Kiva loans

Postby MorgannaLeFey » Fri Sep 28, 2012 8:32 pm

Just made my 92nd loan via Kiva. I got a small inheritance from my grandfather and we put $1500 of it into Kiva. That was nearly two years ago, and I just keep giving it out as it gets repaid. It's awesome. I just loaned some to a woman so she could buy two more cows. I love cows! :)
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Re: Kiva loans

Postby maiforpeace » Fri Sep 28, 2012 8:37 pm

MorgannaLeFey wrote:Just made my 92nd loan via Kiva. I got a small inheritance from my grandfather and we put $1500 of it into Kiva. That was nearly two years ago, and I just keep giving it out as it gets repaid. It's awesome. I just loaned some to a woman so she could buy two more cows. I love cows! :)


No chocolate farmers?

Oh, wait, I get it. You're going for chocolate milk. :D
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Re: Kiva loans

Postby MorgannaLeFey » Fri Sep 28, 2012 10:04 pm

maiforpeace wrote:
MorgannaLeFey wrote:Just made my 92nd loan via Kiva. I got a small inheritance from my grandfather and we put $1500 of it into Kiva. That was nearly two years ago, and I just keep giving it out as it gets repaid. It's awesome. I just loaned some to a woman so she could buy two more cows. I love cows! :)


No chocolate farmers?

Oh, wait, I get it. You're going for chocolate milk. :D


Heh! I loaned to several farmers who do cocoa, too. :)
I am able to accept that I could be wrong. I am able to accept when I make a mistake.
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Re: Kiva loans

Postby maiforpeace » Fri Sep 28, 2012 10:37 pm

MorgannaLeFey wrote:
maiforpeace wrote:
MorgannaLeFey wrote:Just made my 92nd loan via Kiva. I got a small inheritance from my grandfather and we put $1500 of it into Kiva. That was nearly two years ago, and I just keep giving it out as it gets repaid. It's awesome. I just loaned some to a woman so she could buy two more cows. I love cows! :)


No chocolate farmers?

Oh, wait, I get it. You're going for chocolate milk. :D


Heh! I loaned to several farmers who do cocoa, too. :)


I know. :mrgreen:

You mentioned earlier how you like the full circle of supporting a farmer whose chocolate you actually buy - thus my teasing you about chocolate milk. ;)
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Re: Kiva loans

Postby SushiQ » Sun Sep 30, 2012 2:24 pm

maiforpeace wrote:Also, if you join the Atheist group, they have excel sheets showing the religious microloan institutions that you can choose to avoid, and they have ongoing discussions about loans all the time, so you can learn from other lenders with more experience.


And for Firefox browsers, there's an even easier way to block religious MFIs without all the legwork: first, install the Greasemonkey addon, then install the Kiva MFI Checker. https://userscripts.org/scripts/show/86187 Chris Means has updated this tool recently; it was broken for a while but it works great now.

This script blacks out religious MFIs on the Kiva website according to the different strengths of filter you choose, so if you don't want to support the hawking of crazy to the poor (indigenous culture-killer that it is), it's done for you. (FYI, new MFIs are automatically blacked out until their religious status is ascertained. In other words, guilty until proven innocent...the right way to screen out sneaky BS-pushers.)

Another option is to use Kivalens.org; there's a checkbox to exclude religious MFIs and several other filters one can use for choosing loans, but I find it a lot less user-friendly.
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Re: Kiva loans

Postby R33v3 » Tue Oct 30, 2012 9:18 pm

I don't think that it's ethical to expect people in developing countries to pay money back - they're poor and impoverished as it is. I'll stick to freely giving away money to charities - which is surely the preferable option.
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Re: Kiva loans

Postby MorgannaLeFey » Tue Oct 30, 2012 11:40 pm

R33v3 wrote:I don't think that it's ethical to expect people in developing countries to pay money back - they're poor and impoverished as it is. I'll stick to freely giving away money to charities - which is surely the preferable option.


It is a reality of doing business that sometimes you need an infusion of capital to improve your business. It is also a reality of having a small business that it is nearly impossible to get a loan for such a purpose. Most financial institutions don't care if you're a hard worker and actually having the ability to repay it, they simply won't process the small loans for the small businesses like those you find on Kiva.

Kiva makes loans to people for whom the normal financial channels aren't working, and who want to improve their business or living conditions without taking charity. There is nothing unethical about making it possible for people to boost themselves up, and have the pride of knowing that they were also able to repay the loans that helped them along the way.

I am making loans (along with the others who happen to loan on the same requests I do) in the range of $500 to $1000 to small business operators and others who could not obtain financing through regular financial institutions, and who have the ability to repay those loans just fine. There is absolutely nothing unethical about it.
I am able to accept that I could be wrong. I am able to accept when I make a mistake.
Most importantly: I try to learn from my mistakes, and change when I find I've been wrong.
However: You simply disagreeing with me doesn't make me wrong or mistaken. Give me compelling evidence.
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Re: Kiva loans

Postby R33v3 » Tue Oct 30, 2012 11:57 pm

MorgannaLeFey wrote:
R33v3 wrote:I don't think that it's ethical to expect people in developing countries to pay money back - they're poor and impoverished as it is. I'll stick to freely giving away money to charities - which is surely the preferable option.


It is a reality of doing business that sometimes you need an infusion of capital to improve your business. It is also a reality of having a small business that it is nearly impossible to get a loan for such a purpose. Most financial institutions don't care if you're a hard worker and actually having the ability to repay it, they simply won't process the small loans for the small businesses like those you find on Kiva.

Kiva makes loans to people for whom the normal financial channels aren't working, and who want to improve their business or living conditions without taking charity. There is nothing unethical about making it possible for people to boost themselves up, and have the pride of knowing that they were also able to repay the loans that helped them along the way.

I am making loans (along with the others who happen to loan on the same requests I do) in the range of $500 to $1000 to small business operators and others who could not obtain financing through regular financial institutions, and who have the ability to repay those loans just fine. There is absolutely nothing unethical about it.


I'm still suspicious of the concept. There are clear opportunities for the system to be abused and so I think it would be more sensible to just give money as a gift if the ultimate intention is to help the people in those countries. Beside, I'm not a fan of free market capitalism anyway, but that is another story. ;)
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Re: Kiva loans

Postby MorgannaLeFey » Wed Oct 31, 2012 2:19 am

Every system in the world can be abused. You suspicions are noted and you aren't alone in them. I recommend you find some other way of doing good in the world since micro loans offend your personal ethics.

I, on the other hand, am comfortable with both the concept and my research into Kiva and the partners I loan through there. I suspect that I also do not share your feelings about capitalism. Fortunately for us both there are many ways to be helpful in this world. I'm sure that all of them do not require you to be judgmental of how others choose to dispose of their charitable funds.
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Re: Kiva loans

Postby ateisten » Wed Oct 31, 2012 7:39 am

R33v3 wrote:free market capitalism
Doesn't exist.

About KIVA, though:
The paying back part affords the receiver an amount of dignity that I quite like.

Lending money is between (if only nominally) equals, while handouts are between a benevolent asshole and a subjugated serf.
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Re: Kiva loans

Postby Kaczuszka » Mon Jan 21, 2013 12:35 pm

Oh, that microlending idea is great, though after doing some research I will probably try this one https://www.zidisha.org/ as their model is more direct: there aren't using intermediates, so the interest rate can be as low as 5%, and not the average 30% as in Kiva, which stinks of loan sharks. And I definitely wouldn't want someone who have defaulted to have a problem with them.

(comparision between Kiva and Zidisha: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/08/2 ... ternatives )
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Re: Kiva loans

Postby NoMyth » Wed Mar 06, 2013 8:34 am

Initially, I was surprised that Kiva loans included interest, and the rates seemed high to me as well. But after reading up on it, I now can understand why. Many organizations use it to pay employees, open new offices and some offer business and entrepreneur classes. But I think the biggest reasons they charge interest are to hedge against currency devaluation and to provide loans. It's not unusual to see a loan on Kiva that was dispersed, not only before it was fully funded, but even before it was listed. Interest is also used to pay back the lender. They make a lot of short seasonal loans and hope that lenders will come through and fund them so they can re-loan the money out. Unfortunately, many of the countries in the most need of loans have devaluating currencies; and that is when individuals are in the most need of a loan. If the loan payback calls for 10,000 rupees per month for 10 months, which at the time the loan was taken out was equivalent to a $100 loan or $10 a month, and the currency declines by 50%, the debtor still pays 10,000 rupees which are now valued at $5. Some of the Kiva partners cover this out of the interest they made off other loans.

Another thing you may want to think about, (being this is an Atheist forum) is the loan partner's religious affiliation. Several have an affiliation and I found a few that used to have religious names and recently changed them to something more generic.
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KIVA Atheist Team member drive!

Postby SushiQ » Fri Mar 22, 2013 6:36 pm

Paraphrasing an email from the Atheist/Agnostic etc. team on Kiva, the BIGGEST and MOST GENEROUS team on that site:

[The] lending team [...] "Atheists, Agnostics, Skeptics, Freethinkers, Secular Humanists and the Non-Religious" is super close to hitting a big milestone: 25,000 members. You're less than 500 people away from hitting that goal, and we'd love to help you get there.

Kiva has $10,000 for matching loans of your team's choice--but only if you can reach the goal of 25,000 team members by midnight on March 31st, 2013.


Please join us and be part of a group of people who care and act to help others to truly help themselves. We are improving the world!

Find us at http://www.kiva.org/team/atheists!
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Re: Kiva loans

Postby SubMor » Sat Mar 23, 2013 3:14 am

Aw, I was just coming to this thread to post about that. Beaten by nine hours. Way too slow. That's positively days in internet time.
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Re: Kiva loans

Postby Stephen T » Sat Mar 23, 2013 4:29 pm

If you join through the link on Crommunist's page he gets a $25 gift loan, meaning that even more loans can be given.
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Re: Kiva loans

Postby hyperdeath » Tue Jun 25, 2013 10:12 am

hyperdeath wrote:I've just contributed to a farmer in Peru, who needs fungicide to protect his cocoa and coffee crop.

I'm partly motivated by a desire to hit back at the fungus kingdom, after my tomato plants were wiped out by alternaria solani. Seriously though, it's annoying to see the plants you've tended fall apart and die, and it must be absolutely soul destroying if those plants are your living.



Woohoo! Payback!

I'm now looking for someone who wants to kill slugs, given that they're eating my plants.
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Re: Kiva loans

Postby Katybe » Tue Jul 09, 2013 4:45 pm

I finally got around to reactivating my account after signing up last year then never writing anything just before falling in to months of company restructure that sucked in all my time! Hi guys, sorry for making my first posting a request for help/input. I signed up to Kiva in the Crommunist recruitment push back in March, and am loving it, however a few of us are discussing particular loans on the Atheist team forum and, as I don't know how much attention you're paying to that at the moment, I thought I'd bring it over here to get a wider audience.

Kiva just partnered with Strathmore University in Kenya. They've posted a lot of pretty large loans for student tuition, all needing to be funded this month, and a lot of people started by jumping in to fund them, because education, yay. Unfortunately, by posting them all at once, there've been a lot of small expiring loans, which was a bit worrying, and the loans for Strathmore are post-disbursed, so students will start their course a few weeks before they know if they've got a loan - some of them may end up getting kicked off the course. They're also taking out loans for about ten years worth of the local annual salary, getting 11 years to repay it, so various people have been umming and ahh-ing over whether they're generally a good scheme in principle - it's a private university and public ones in the area charge much lower fees. Most of the Atheist team were concluding anyway that the loans maybe weren't for them as Strathmore is closely related to Opus Dei, but someone has now uncovered some even bigger problems, to the extent that we're beginning to get a consensus on the forum that Kiva should withdraw from the partnership. They require all of their students to do an internship for academic credit, but students who went through internships at organisations friendly to gay rights are being told they can't have the academic credit for doing the work because the university won't support any organisation that supports LGBT issues. They've even blacklisted the Kenyan Human Rights Commission. They're also insisting on the no condoms approach to AIDS/HIV prevention. We're talking now about getting the word out around other teams, to start building enough noise that Kiva have to at least answer our concerns. So this is a two-fold request - if you're a member of the Atheists team but don't usually read the forum frequently, please pop over - http://www.kiva.org/team/atheists - to read more, and have your say, and if you're not a member of this team, please consider joining up so that you can share the information with people in your other teams. The evidence collected so far may be collated off into a more open page to make it easier to link to, and to read, but that hasn't happened yet.

And hopefully with this, I'll get a little more active on here.
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Re: Kiva loans

Postby Katybe » Mon Jul 15, 2013 8:00 am

This is the introduction to the crowd-sourced letter that members of the Atheists Lending team are sharing with other teams with effect from today.

" In June, Kiva posted twenty-five loans to fund tuition for the students of Strathmore University. Several members of the "Atheists, Agnostics, Skeptics, Freethinkers, Secular Humanists and the Non-Religious" (or "A+") team oppose these loans because they harm the Kiva ecosystem, fund active opposition to gay rights, and are being marketed through guilt and greed.

Please read the A+ Team members' letter at www.writeurl.com/publish/zbfbrc39ovw419rwbq20 and consider joining them in withholding support for Strathmore loans. By not contributing to these loans during their final week on Kiva, you can protect Kiva and the dozen remaining students from this harmful institution, and instead fund the thousands of other great loans to entrepreneurs around the world on Kiva. "
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