OPINIONS, ALTRUIST ECONOMY – As I was explaining in a first post on our blog in French, I decided a few days ago to begin lending money on Kiva after viewing an interview with Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard attending the Davos meeting a few weeks ago.
Logging into the Kiva website was pretty easy. I did it with my Facebook account in order to make it quick. In a few minutes I created a PayPal account and was able to make a transfer very easily from my bank account. I think the whole operation lasted about 15 minutes, with the connections to the bank, filling the forms, money conversions, checking the numbers and so on.
So I decided to make immediately my first lending and found the “Kiva team” I selected a few days ago and wanted to join: “Supporting Widows and Single Parents” as I explained in my former post. I searched all the pending loans and found my first female borrower: Mariam from Lebanon. As I write these lines, Mariam’s loan has been fully funded and I am happy for her. I hope she will attain her goals and I am confident with it anyway.
As a former entrepreneur in Romania, I know that if someone in the position of borrowing to sustain one’s family will do anything possible to do her (or his) best and give the money back. It is a matter of honor.
Nevertheless I have to tell you that something puzzled me a little bit: during the lending process, Kiva is asking you to make a donation that represents roughly 14% of the total lending amount. To me, this is far too much: I can understand that their activities generate costs, but that is not OK to present things like that: you have to make the calculation in order to evaluate the percentage and come to this conclusion by yourself. I agree to donate 2% for overhead expenses, as Matthieu Ricard explains in this video on the Karuna-Shechen foundation’s website. 2% is not much, surely it is not enough and maybe I will donate more afterwards. But not in the very moment I make my lending. In my opinion, we can have the choice to make a bigger donation afterwards: this is perfectly possible on the Kiva’s website anyway.
I have to tell you that I did not credit Kiva with lots of money: I would like to “test” first with a few hundreds of dollars and see the results. Only then maybe I will raise my participation.
That being said, I will lend 1-2 borrowers per week (after having carefully read their stories) until all my Kiva credit is gone, waiting to relend and put my money back to help others. This is my way of getting concerned by this activity and feel a little bit of altruism in front of my laptop’s screen 🙂
Until then, take care and pay a visit to Kiva’s website!