Your Mission Matters: How Kiva Lost Its Way

Your Mission Matters: How Kiva Lost Its Way


The initial purpose of Kiva.org was to give people in third-world countries a leg up through micro loans. By crowdsourcing a series of $25 loans, entrepreneurs in Asia and Africa could climb out of poverty with a small loan.

Successful entrepreneurs paid back their loans and the money was relent to new entrepreneurs thereby repeating the virtuous cycle. As a big supporter of Kiva, I have created my own team and donated my money to helping raise people’s quality of life via entrepreneurs.

However, today I am disenfranchised with Kiva as they seemed to have lost their way. It seems that Kiva is intent on growing simply for growth’s sake and has lost the original mission. The last time I went to lend money, the site was inundated with people asking for loans that had nothing to do with climbing out of poverty via entrepreneurs.

Example 1: Traditional U.S. Bank Loan

kiva-u-s-loans-kiva

Aren’t there already many mechanisms in place to get an inventory loan of $10,000? Banks, credit cards, or crowdfunding already exist.

 

Example 2: Student Loans

fundraising-loans-kiva

You can find many people looking for student loans both in the U.S. and abroad. This seems like a stretch, at best, from the original Kiva mission.

 

Example 3: Free money?

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It’s hard to explain how lending money to someone for their rent isn’t anything more than someone taking advantage of an interest-free loan? That’s assuming they will pay it back at all?

My wish is for Kiva to expand its original mission of teaching people to fish instead of drifting into giving away the fish. It would be better for Kiva to partner with Heifer Foundation (provides farm animals to third-world farmers to create sustainable income) than to drift into a polluted mission.

How does this apply to your business? If you drift too far from your core mission, you too may lose your way, your customers, your employees, or your passion. For what it’s worth, I still financially support Kiva. It is a wonderful concept that deserves proper support.

 

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