Tuesday, December 6, 2011

30 Before 30: Week Two Update

It's been another exciting week for my Kiva lending team. When I updated you last week, we had made 22 loans totaling $550. This week, I am happy to report that those figures have climbed to 29 loans and $850. We only have ONE more loan to go before reaching my goal! You all are amazing for supporting my birthday wish and, more importantly, Kiva borrowers.

Speaking of those borrowers, our portfolio has diversified as it has grown. Borrowers come from 19 different countries.

Our regional profile looks much the same as it did last week. The only region we don't represent yet is Eastern Europe (hint, hint...).

In addition to updating you on my lending goal, I also wanted to mention two new initiatives at Kiva. The first is a new mechanism for evaluating Kiva's field partners based on their social performance. You will soon see Social Performance Badges on field partner pages, and these badges represent a lot of planning, data collection, and rigorous analysis by Kiva's Social Performance team and many fellows in the field. For this purpose, I conducted a very long and in-depth survey with BPW Patan during my Kiva Fellowship, collecting both quantitative and qualitative information to assess how BPW's social performance activities align with its social performance goals. But I don't want to divulge too much before Kiva explains more about this concept. To learn about the Social Performance Badges, you can tune into a webinar next Wednesday, December 14.

The second new initiative is Kiva's work with a partner that operates outside the traditional microfinance space. Kiva recently announced its partnership with One Acre Fund, an agricultural cooperative based in Kenya. One Acre Fund provides small-scale farmers with training, credit, insurance, and access to affordable seeds, fertilizer, and other agricultural inputs. One Acre Fund strategically pre-purchases these inputs when prices are at their lowest in July through October and passes the cost savings onto the farmers in February, when planting season begins. One Acre Fund has already demonstrated extraordinary success with this business model, doubling the farmers' profit per acre. Capital raised on Kiva will fund One Acre's bulk purchase of inputs and directly benefit these farmers.

Kiva is continually innovating, and that is just one more reason why I am excited to support Kiva and am thankful for all of you who do too.

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