Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Featured Volunteer: Lorne Warwick

By: Staci Chirchick, Review and Translation Program Intern

City: Dundas, Ontario, Canada

Outstanding Contributions to Kiva: Lorne has been a top contributor for his team since he began volunteering in 2008. He has been a huge asset to Kiva, not only with editing, but he also collaborated on a Kiva blog entry after a loan he had edited was featured in the hit video "A Fistful of Dollars," made by Kiva Fellow Kieran Ball.

How did you find out about Kiva?

I was reading some Internet articles on microfinance when one of them mentioned Kiva. Intrigued, I visited the Kiva website and liked what I saw. I was especially attracted to the idea that a loan as small as $25 could contribute to helping people improve their lives.

Why did you choose to volunteer your time with Kiva?

About a year into retirement, I began looking for some activities that would impart a little structure to my life. I was at that time volunteering once a week at a local food bank, but wanted to give more of my time to a project that would both interest me and benefit others. Because I had already started lending money to Kiva applicants, when volunteer positions became available in editing, I applied immediately. Having been an English teacher and a frequent writer of opinion pieces and letters to the editor, editing seemed like an ideal opportunity to put some of my skills to work.

From where do you typically review Kiva loans?

Typically I review the loans in our dining room, which is where the laptop is set up. That locale offers a nice view of the backyard and the birdfeeder, so I work in a very congenial environment.

What is your favorite partner or region?

Sierra Leone is probably my favourite area. Having read Ismael Beah's book, A Long Way Gone, the story of his recruitment as a child soldier during the civil war there and his subsequent rehabilitation thanks to the intervention of a U.N agency, I was very impressed by how his story demonstrates the resilience of the human spirit. The people of the area, who have suffered so much for so long, deserve our help.

Tell us about a memorable profile you have reviewed.

While a particular profile does not come to mind, I will say that my favourite ones come from countries in Africa. Unlike the formulaic nature of some loan descriptions, those from Africa often contain a local flavour. The challenge is to edit them while retaining that local flavour, and it is a challenge that I enjoy.

Where is your favorite place in the world to travel?

Cuba is, without question, our favourite destination. As Canadians, we don't face the travel restrictions that Americans do, and the more we have been able to travel beyond the resort experience, the more we have come to experience and appreciate the resilience, resourcefulness, and gracious generosity of the Cuban people. I think we in North America have much to learn from them about what is really important in life.

Tell us an unusual or surprising fact about yourself.

While I'm not sure if it is unusual, I do maintain a blog called Politics and Its Discontents (, which gives me the opportunity to comment primarily on issues pertaining to Canadian politics, society and justice.