Monday, February 13, 2012

Innovating to expand opportunity worldwide

This is the first of a multi-part blog series looking at how Kiva is getting creative with lending and partnerships to make an impact in exciting, new areas. 

Imagine having limited or no access to higher education, nontoxic lighting, or clean water. These are realities faced by millions of people around the world every day. Kiva’s mission, now and always, has been to connect people through lending to change this picture.

We envision a world where every individual has the power to create opportunity for themselves and others. Working toward this reality, we challenge ourselves to find new ways for our lenders’ flexible, risk-tolerant capital to grow markets and reach even more people with innovative loan products. This is core to Kiva’s quest for deeper impact – one that is shared by our generous lender community.

In the coming months, this blog series will highlight important new work in this area spearheaded by Kiva’s Strategic Initiatives team. These efforts will expand Kiva’s footprint in exciting directions and continue evolving our work to alleviate poverty through microlending.

Through this series, we’ll introduce you to a new set of Kiva partners – from universities to social businesses, from mobile service providers to green technology vendors. For the first time, Kiva is working with partners other than microfinance institutions to offer different types of loan products. In doing so, we look forward to innovating how we partner with organizations and companies to give more people access to financial services and opportunities.

Designed to highlight both the challenges and potential of these new partnerships, this blog series will explore seven areas where they are active:

1. Education
    Closing the Global Education Gap
    As demand for education spikes, micro-loans may be the answer
    Cost-sharing for higher education in South Africa
    Investing in technical and vocational education
    Tackling the secondary education equation

2. Innovative Agriculture
    Loaning for a new "Green Revolution"
    Why do farmers need finance?
    Growing agricultural economies, starting with small farms
    Agricultural co-ops make their mark in rural Kenya
    Storage facilities for smallholder farmers in East Africa
    How you can change the world -- one land title at a time
    Want to become a chocolate investor? (Yes, we said chocolate.)

3. Clean Energy
    The Case for "Green" technologies: What is the Need?
    Financing for a cleaner, greener future
    The last mile distribution challenge
    Julia Roberts, cookstoves and health in the developing world
    Tackling energy poverty in sub-Saharan Africa

4. Water and Sanitation
    Expanding access to water and sanitation services
    Sanitation, and Kiva’s elegant solution to an inelegant problem
    Tapping into clean water financing
    Water and Sanitation in Urban Slums

5. Mobile Transactions
    The power of moving money by phone
    Getting information technology into the right hands
    Reducing poverty along the supply chain

6. Fair Trade
    Lending to support fair trade
    Keeping fair trade coffee fair

7. Health
    Funding community health workers on the front lines of global health

8. Transportation
    Helping motorcycle taxis hit the road (it's more important that you might think!)

9. Increasing your impact
    Lending to get life-changing products into the right hands
    Accelerator programs for social entrepreneurs    
    How do you design for maximum impact?
Blog posts falling into each of these categories will look at the types of funding that currently support individuals and organizations working in these fields, what more could be done, and how Kiva’s unique approach to microlending could make a difference. We will also be spotlighting Kiva partners and borrowers affiliated with these areas as they appear on the website – so stay tuned.

We sincerely hope you enjoy this series, and would love to hear your feedback along the way at