Sunday, September 19, 2010

Progress Update on Kiva's social impact

We wanted to share some progress we've been making on evaluating and communicating Kiva's social impact.

1. Our Field Partners

We're working on a big project to share more information about our field partners.

Our MFI field partners are the unsung heroes of Kiva, delivering microloans and other critical products and services directly to the borrowers in the 53 countries where Kiva works.

By the end of the year, we will be providing more detail about why we choose to work with each and every one of our 120 field partners. We will be adding this information to the partner pages we maintain with information and updates on each of our partners.

This project will take a significant amount of resources, but it will be worth it for the increased transparency we'll be able to bring to the Kiva platform.

2. Portfolio Review

We've also done an extensive review of our entire portfolio to take a look at interest rates and profitability.

For interest rates, we reviewed portfolio yields for each MFI adjusted for the cost of funds and inflation. For profitability, we analyzed Return on Assets for each MFI, adjusted for inflation and provisioning. We also took a look at how these numbers varied by market maturity: in other words, at the total number of microcredit borrowers relative to the number of people below the poverty line.

Our initial results have been very heartening. We are working to find the best way to share the results of our findings both publicly and also with our partners. More on that to come in our next update!

3. Social Performance

In March of this year, we announced an ongoing project to establish a baseline of social performance for the Kiva portfolio:
Tracking social performance is a complex issue. In addition to tracking the progress of Kiva borrowers through the profiles and journal updates, Kiva looks at the social performance of our MFI partners to inform who we should be partnering with.

Some of the questions that we ask ourselves are:

• who is the MFI reaching with its services?
• what products does the MFI offer (variety of loans and beyond loans)?
• what are the benefits to the clients?
• how socially responsible is the MFI? ...

This year, Kiva is embarking on a challenging social performance project. Through the use of the CERISE SPI (Social Performance Indicators Audit tool - one of the many tools available to analyze the social performance of an MFI) we will take a closer look at the social performance of our MFI partners.
In the six months since then, we've made a lot of progress. We have collected data from over 70 field partners and we're moving diligently toward our 2010 goal of collecting CERISE Social Performance Indicators from 100% of our long term MFI partners.

We're right on track, thanks to the hard work of our Partnerships team and our Kiva Fellows! So far, we've been pleased to see strong showing among our field partners in the areas of gender focus, diversity of products and timely delivery of loans.

Stay tuned for more updates later this year!