Just when you think a good idea can’t get any better…
Kiva, the king of micro lending websites, recently launched Kiva Green Loans. Green Loans allows Kiva lenders to find businesses and individuals transitioning to cleaner and more sustainable energy sources. The energy saving theme includes recycling, re-purposing used materials, minimizing pollution, and reducing energy expenditures.
Kiva.org’s mission, to alleviate poverty by allowing lenders across the world to make microloans for as little as $25, has already facilitated $200,000,000 in loans. Kiva Green hopes to alleviate “Energy Poverty.” As Premal Shah, President of Kiva.org explains, "Much of the developing world spends hours a day gathering wood and other materials for fuel, losing countless hours and often inadvertently damaging the environment. This lack of access to heat sources and electricity… can have a big impact on quality of life." For example - if you have to find firewood to cook or heat your home with you might miss school.
Kiva launched the Green Loans pilot program in May with a handful of loans, which quickly became fully funded. One of the first loans was to a farmer in Kenya named Maurice. His four school age children had difficulty doing their homework at night because they used cumbersome lanterns.
Maurice used the loan to buy “My Sunshine Box” a solar box to help light his home. The loan has already been fully repaid, and no doubt Maurice’s children now have an easier time doing their homework.
According to Kiva one of the biggest challenges implementing the new program is finding Field Partners or lending organizations willing to participate in a green program. Kiva is not only seeking new eco lending partners, but is trying to develop incentives to encourage their current partners to offer green loans. Currently, Kiva has eight different Field Partners who provide Green loans: NWTF, Tamweelcom, Credit Mongol, IMPRO, Fundacion Paraguaya, Microfinanzas Prisma, KADET, and XacBank.