What is Microlending?
In the 1970’s, Nobel Prize winning economist Dr. Muhammad Yunus set out to find a way to provide bank loans to those entrepreneurs who were “too poor” for traditional bank loans.
During visits to the poorest households in the village of Jobra near Chittagong University, Bangladesh, Yunus discovered through his own lending, even very small loans could make a disproportionate difference to a poor person – and so microlending was born.
Microlending, in a nutshell, is the lending of very small amounts. These loans on their own do not amount to much, but when combined with many lenders, they make a huge impact.
“Money goes, but it never comes back,” says Yunus when comparing philanthropy to microlending; providing a great example of how microlending is more sustainable than its philanthropic counterpart.
What is Kiva?
Kiva is a non-profit organization with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. Leveraging the internet and a worldwide network of microfinance institutions, Kiva lets individuals lend as little as $25 to help create opportunity around the world.
- 850,000 Kiva lenders
- $379+ million in loans
- 98.98% Repayment rate
- 171 Field Partners
- 450 volunteers around the world
- 66 different countries
Kiva envisions a world where all people – even in the most remote areas of the globe – hold the power to create opportunity for themselves and others. They believe providing safe, affordable access to capital to those in need helps people create better lives for themselves and their families.
Social Responsibility at Iridia
Why are we so interested in the concept of microlending? Well to put it simply, microlending allows us to do much more with less!
Almost two years ago, Iridia began lending through Kiva.org. We saw an opportunity to give even more to those who are less fortunate. Since then, we have made 22 loans to 16 different countries around the world. For more information, view our lending portfolio.
Recently however, we hosted a brand launch party to celebrate the journey toward updating our brand and choosing a new name ideally suited to our company.
As part of the celebration, we made a new contribution to Kiva on behalf of all of our guests. But we didn’t stop there, we wanted our guests to choose the next loans themselves by selecting a Gender, a Location and a Sector they would like us to lend to. However, due to the constant variability of borrowers on Kiva – at the time we placed the loans, certain borrower categories were unavailable to us. For example, we had a difficult time finding female borrowers from Africa (a popular choice among our guests). With future Kiva loans, we will look to fulfill any missed popular categories. Thank you to everyone who made a selection!
Based on choices available to us, we selected the following four individuals: