My dark secret: Before I traveled abroad for nine months of intensive on-the-ground fieldwork with Kiva, I had never used www.kiva.org before. Not once! Well, I’d created a lender page as part of the Kiva Fellows application process, but I’d never made a loan, never used my account, never had firsthand experience with what the organization was all about.
Ha. That’s changed. Sometime during the last two months, I became a raging Kiva fiend, visiting the list of fundraising loans six times a day, sifting through hundreds of messages from my very active lending teams, and constantly monitoring my own MFIs’ performance on the site. I am obsessed. Occasionally, when I can’t sleep at 3 in the morning, I will roll over in bed, grab my laptop, and log into the site’s administrative backend to check up on my Kiva work. (In case you’re wondering how you know you’ve found the right job – this is how you know.)
When I first started my Kiva blog back in June – back when I was sitting in my apartment in Philadelphia and powering through microfinance training materials with alarming fervor – I had the thought that I should write a post about Kiva itself. A PR sort of thing, frankly, introducing what the site was all about and inviting interested readers to sign up and make a loan themselves. I didn’t do that. I scrapped the idea, because it just didn’t feel comfortable. It wouldn’t have been my authentic voice. And besides, I didn’t feel comfortable shilling for any organization, no matter how amazing they seemed, before I got the chance to vet them and get a close-up look at the practices they actually use.
Now, after five months on the ground gaining a deep understanding of how this organization works, I’m finally willing to say it: Join Kiva. It is good. It is wonderful and fair. Its work inspires me. Its heart is so consistently in the right place that I am proud to call myself a part of it.
Take a look at the loans that are currently fundraising. Make a $25 loan to someone in need. You’ll even get it back once your borrower finishes repaying, at which point you can lend it out to someone else. If you want to create an account, use the bolded link above, because that way I’ll get credit for recruiting somebody. Should you want a short overview of how to make loans that will have the maximum impact, I am bubbling over with info on the subject.
Let me know if you do actually sign up. I would love to hear.