Sunday, December 11, 2011

Kiva Launches Social Performance Badges and Increases the Information Available for Your Lending Decisions

We are excited to announce that Social Performance badges are now available on the Kiva website. What does this mean for you, the lender? First, the badges give you even more of an “insider’s” view into the work of our Field Partners. Many of Kiva’s Field Partners are going above-and-beyond in serving the needs of their communities, and Kiva wants to shine a spotlight on those partners so we can all acknowledge their efforts and learn from their work.

Second, the badges are an easy-to-use tool for you to quickly identify a Kiva Field Partner that is supporting communities in a way that is more meaningful to you! The Social Performance badges give you more insight into the positive impact a Field Partner is attempting to have within their community. We hope the badges will enable you to easily find Field Partners that are working in areas that speak to you, and this can in-turn inform your lending decisions.

What is Social Performance?

Social Performance is defined by the Social Performance Task Force as “the effective translation of an institution’s mission into practice in line with accepted social values.” Kiva is always looking to partner with microfinance institutions (MFIs) with a strong social mission as we know you want to support MFIs creating the most good. Social performance, or the ways these MFIs put their mission into practice, can be measured many different ways. Kiva has created Social Performance badges to give you insight into the areas of social performance that Kiva’s Field Partners have demonstrated a commitment to.

Social Performance is a relatively new and exciting topic within the microfinance industry. We’ve scheduled a webinar to walk you through using the badges on the Kiva website, and also give you a little background on the role social performance plays at Kiva. There will be an open question and answer time for you to ask any questions you may have.

The webinar will take place Wednesday, December 14 at 10am (Pacific Standard Time.)

What are Social Performance badges?

Social Performance badges recognize Kiva Field Partners with a demonstrated commitment to one or more of the following social performance strengths:

Each Field Partner receives one badge for each of the areas to which they have demonstrated a commitment. These badges can be found on the loan page in the About The Field Partner section, and on the Field Partners page beside the Risk Rating. For more detail on a Field Partner’s social performance efforts, click on the individual Field Partner you are interested in.

How do I use Social Performance badges?

There are two ways to use Social Performance badges when making a loan on Kiva:

When choosing a loan: When browsing borrowers to lend to on Kiva, you can also consider the social performance strengths of the Field Partner facilitating the loan. The strengths will be represented on the loan page in About the Field Partner, with each badge representing a unique social performance strength. To learn more about each strength, simply click on the badge.

When choosing a Field Partner: If you are a lender who likes to research Field Partners before selecting a borrower to lend to, you can easily identify Field Partners with strengths in a social performance area that you care about. Simply browse the social performance strengths listed on the Field Partner page to identify a Field Partner whose social performance strengths are aligned with the issues you care about. For more detail, click on the name of the Field Partner you are interested in to read a description of this organization’s social performance efforts.

We know that you value transparency when it comes to the lending choices on Kiva. Social Performance badges are another way we are increasing the availability of information to our lender community, to further empower you when making your lending decisions.

How can I learn more?

Join us in our series of eight Social Performance webinars!

The first webinar will take place on Wednesday, December 14 at 10am (Pacific Standard Time), and will focus on introducing Kiva’s social performance badges.

We will then dedicate a short series of webinars to the social performance strengths, describing how Kiva defines and evaluates each strength, and giving some examples of the work our Field Partners are doing to be recognized in this area. Each webinar will include a presentation by Kiva’s Senior Director of Social Performance, JD Bergeron, and an open Q&A time for you to ask any questions you may have. We will be announcing the schedule of these webinars on this blog, so that you can choose to attend those addressing the areas you are most interested in, if you are unable to attend them all.

We hope to see you there!