[This week, as part of Nau’s pledge to donate 10% of sales on nau.com to our Partners For Change, we are pleased to share a collection of guest posts from our partner organizations. Today’s guest is Kate Heryford from Kiva.org, the world’s first micro-lending website for the working poor, and one of Nau’s original Partners For Change . -Ed.]
Last month, Kiva marked its 5th birthday and celebrated five years in which it enabled 490,000 people to lend more than $165 million to 420,000 entrepreneurs in 53 countries. As exciting as the first five years have been, we thought we’d share a little bit of what we have in store for the next five years.
The success of the Kiva model presents an amazing opportunity for Kiva to work with our MFI partners to create and expand innovative loan products beyond the typical micro-business loans that made Kiva famous. The first step in this exciting new phase for Kiva is student microloans. For the first time ever, Kiva users can make loans to students to help them pay for the education that can help them break the inter-generational cycle of poverty.
A post-secondary education can increase income from 10-20% per year–if you can afford it. However, in most countries, government student loan programs simply don’t exist. With no collateral, no credit history, and little or no job history, most aspiring college students can’t qualify for commercial loans to pay for school. Ironically, a higher education is the very thing that could enable them to get the higher paying jobs that would enable them to build the track record that commercial lenders require. As a result, generation after generation remains shut out of the education system, trapped in a seemingly endless cycle of poverty.
Kiva Student Microloans give recipients the opportunity to gain new knowledge and skills through higher education or vocational training. As a result, these individuals will be better positioned to find jobs, support their families and grow their communities — and ultimately make a real difference in the relief of global poverty.
To learn more about Kiva, visit the Partners For Change page on nau.com, or check out this short video: