Friday, December 18, 2009

November Stats

A little late, but November stats are here! Welcome to our new members:
Mark (Kirkland, WA)
Diego (New York, NY)
j diane (Melaque, Mexico)
yess (Aguascalientes, Mexico)
The Littlest Angel (Toronto, ON)
Margaret
Yesenia
Catalina (San Pedro Garza, Mexico)
Cesar (San Diego, CA)







Feliz Navidad!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Para Mexico on the Kiva Fellows Blog

Check out this article of the Para Mexico Team on the Kiva Fellows Blog, it is the first time a Kiva team has been featured on this blog...

Para Mexico on the Kiva Fellows Blog

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Original source of controversy: Kiva Is Not Quite What It Seems

Kiva is not Quite What it Seems, by David Roodman

Reply from Matt Flannery, Co-Founder and CEO of Kiva.org

Reply from Matt Flannery to NYT article

Seems like another big controversy is going on the Kiva community similar to that of loans to US entrepreneurs. Still trying to digest what is going on here!!!!

Confusion on Where Money Lent via Kiva Goes

From the New York Times.

Permalink

Confusion on Where Money Lent via Kiva Goes
Published: November 8, 2009

Last month, David Roodman, a research fellow at the Center for Global Development, pressed a button on his laptop as his bus left the Lincoln Tunnel in Manhattan and started a debate that has people re-examining the country’s latest celebrated charity, Kiva.org.

Oprah Winfrey extolled Kiva on her TV show. Nicholas D. Kristof, a columnist for The New York Times, sang its praises. “I lent $25 each to the owner of a TV repair shop in Afghanistan, a baker in Afghanistan, and a single mother running a clothing shop in the Dominican Republic,” Mr. Kristof wrote in a 2007 column.

Kiva, a nonprofit organization, promoted itself as a link between small individual lenders and small individual borrowers like Maryjane Cruz in the Philippines, who recently sought a $625 loan to support her family’s farm.

But Mr. Roodman’s blog post said that lenders like Mr. Kristof were not making direct loans. Borrowers like Ms. Cruz already have loans from microfinance institutions by the time their pictures are posted on Kiva’s Web site.

Thus, the direct person-to-person connection Kiva offered was in fact an illusion. Kiva’s lenders were actually backstopping microfinance institutions, and since Kiva and other online giving and lending models pride themselves on their transparency, Mr. Roodman and others suggested it might better explain what its lenders’ money — about $100 million over four years — was really doing.

“The person-to-person donor-to-borrower connections created by Kiva are partly fictional,” he wrote. “I suspect that most Kiva users do not realize this.”

“Little did I realize what that click would unleash,” he said in an interview, later adding that the post had attracted dozens of comments, more than 10,000 hits and thousands of Twitter postings.

Much of his long post is complimentary to Kiva — after all, the information he used to write it is largely tucked away on Kiva’s site — but it has brought scrutiny of the organization. It goes beyond complaints about its transparency to questioning whether the model it relies on is viable and, indeed, whether any organization can fulfill the promise it was making to directly connect people to people.

“There’s a whole new generation of socially connected nonprofits that use the Internet to make the illusion of person-to-person contact much more believable,” said Timothy Ogden, editor in chief of Philanthropy Action, an online journal for donors. “The problem is that they are no more connecting donors to people than the child sponsorship organizations of the past did.”

In the late 1990s, several child sponsorship organizations amended their disclosures after a series of articles in The Chicago Tribune revealed that while they were soliciting money to sponsor a specific needy child, that child was not necessarily receiving the money directly.

More recently, charities that ask donors for money to buy a farm animal have added disclaimers to their pitches, stating that money might not buy a cow or a duck but finance broader programs.

Now Kiva is the latest nonprofit group to have to overhaul its explanation of how it works. Where its home page once promised, “Kiva lets you lend to a specific entrepreneur, empowering them to lift themselves out of poverty,” it now simply states, after Mr. Roodman’s post: “Kiva connects people through lending to alleviate poverty.”

Kiva is not the only site with transparency problems. GlobalGiving, whose Web site allows donors to choose among various projects to support, has raised money for philanthropic projects of three or four profit-making companies, according to Dennis Whittle, its co-founder and chief executive. It did not, however, tell donors that their money would support a company’s philanthropic projects rather than one proposed by a nonprofit.

For instance, it raised $975 for SunNight Solar Enterprises, a small start-up that develops solar-powered consumer products, so it could distribute 500 free solar-powered lights to refugees in camps. After The New York Times raised questions about the issue, Mr. Whittle said in a blog post on The Huffington Post that GlobalGiving was considering whether to tell potential donors when it was raising money for a business rather than a nonprofit.

Premal Shah, Kiva’s president, said he could foresee a day when Kiva really did provide person-to-person connection, once some legal hurdles are cleared and when people in the developing world began using their mobile phones to use credit and make payments.

“That’s the future of Kiva,” he said, “when through that disintermediation process you can bring down the costs of these transactions and put them directly in the hands of people.”

For now, however, analysts are raising questions about Kiva’s model, which relies in part on its own data, offers lenders no recourse against default and deploys volunteers to do most of its auditing.

Mr. Ogden goes so far as to question Kiva’s role in the lending process. “Kiva’s new documentation explains, if you read it, that Kiva is a connector not of individual lenders to individual donors, but of individual lenders to microfinance institutions,” he said. “If Kiva’s users want to be connected to an individual borrower, Kiva doesn’t do that, and so the big question is, do Kiva’s users want to be connected to a microfinance institution — in which case, why do they need Kiva?”

Indeed, individual lenders can support microfinance institutions directly through, for example, Microplace, or make donations to support nonprofit groups like the Grameen Foundation and Acción that support microfinance.

Mr. Shah said he thought Kiva’s distinct advantage was in making it easier for small lenders to support microfinance than the other programs.

The difficulty is in engaging the person who wants to lend $25, a mother of three in Des Moines, for instance, “and create a simple way for her to participate in microfinance, which is what we do,” Mr. Shah said.

The question is, does the lender understand that his money may not be supporting the loan he picked on Kiva’s Web site?

The uproar has proven beneficial in an unexpected way. “If anything, it has drawn more people into the nuance and beauty of this model of microfinance,” said Mr. Shah, who joined Kiva from eBay. “It’s highly imperfect, but it’s like a 3 1/2-year-old child: it has a lot of potential.”

He said he had so far seen no impact on Kiva’s business, which set a record with $293,000 lent on the day he was interviewed and celebrated its fourth anniversary last month by announcing it had lent more than $100 million all told.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Overwhelmed by Kiva and Para Mexico's email load?

There are teams out there with hundreds, a few of them with thousands of members, which maintain a very active and vibrant message board, which is great, except that one of the main complains floating around is the some times staggering amount of email people receive in their inboxes, as a consequence of message board activity. Many people decide to move on to other less busy teams or stop being members of any team altogether.

Too much email in your inbox generated by Kiva and Para Mexico's members? If you feel like this is your case, please don't quit, there is a way to fix that:

On your "My Portfolio" page, click on
"My Account" then
"Email Preferences"
and set "Send me Team Messages" to your desired delivery option.

You can change other delivery settings to avoid getting too much email from Kiva on that very same page.

Thanks.

October Stats

Well, congratulations everyone. October was the best month in term of amount loaned: $4,600.00 was distributed among 141 new loans, well done! That's $350.00 more than the previous record month, February 2009.

Membership growth has been explosive during the last couple of months as well, 45 new members joined, 26 in October alone, making this month the best in terms of number of team members since the team was first created. Welcome:

Hugo (Williamsburg, VA)
MexiSue (Glenwood Springs, CO)
Norma(DF, Mexico)
Hardy (Dallas, TX)
Cynthia (Laredo, TX)
Paul (Oxnard, CA)
jose louis
Jessica (San Andres Cholula, Mexico)
Heber (Chicago, Il)
Audri, Estrella & Carla (Wichita, KS)
Miguel (Visalia, CA)
Amilcar (DF, Mexico)
Nehemiah (San Antonio, TX)
Irene (Ossining, NY)
Sebastian (Zapopan, Mexico)
Susanna (New York, NY)
Karen (Arvada, CO)
Anonymous (El Paso, TX)
Jose
Brad (Sommerville, MA)
Juan (Katy, TX)
Marian (Recruit-a-Thon member!)
Allison (Recruit-a-Thon member!)
Lily (Bronxville, NY)
Manuel (Merida, Mexico)
Jim Middleton (Santa Cruz, CA)
Roberto (Irving, TX)

All new members, please take a minute to read the following recommendations to make your team experience better:

Five ways to increase the Team's impact.
Five more ways to increase the Team's impact.
RSS and Kiva.
Overwhelmed by Kiva and Para Mexico's email load?

Now the graphics:




Friday, October 23, 2009

Traditional Annual 2009 Halloween Recruit-a-Thon


All right, I got the nine 2010 Kiva calendars, and as promised, one of them can be yours. The past February we had the Valentine’s Day Loan-a-Thon, this time I’m thinking something different, a bring-a-new-member-thon, mmmm, too long, how about recruit-a-thon, that’s it, the Traditional Annual 2009 Halloween Recruit-a-Thon. Bring over new members to the team, friends, family, coworkers, neighbors… those who bring the most new members during the Traditional Annual 2009 Halloween Recruit-a-Thon win a brand new 2010 Kiva calendar…

The Traditional Annual 2009 Halloween Recruit-a-Thon starts NOW and ends next Friday October 30, seven days.

Don’t forget to post on the team's wall who the new member is and who recruit him/her, otherwise I won’t be able to track it down. Don’t worry about where you are if you win, I’ll be happy to ship the calendar wherever it has to go. You can take a look at the calendar on Kiva’s shop page or at the team blog.

Monday, October 19, 2009

10 Questions for Muhammad Yunus (Time Magazine)

Do you think it is ethical to charge the poor interest and make a profit out of it?
Hasan Iqbal


SUNDSVALL, SWEDEN

In Bangladesh, Grameen Bank charges the lowest rate among all microcredit programs, and yes, we make a profit. But Grameen Bank is owned by the borrowers, so when we make a profit, it goes back to the borrowers as dividends.

Are microloans taking a hit because of the recession?

Katie Malone

POINT MARION, PA.

We use very local money that is going to the local poor, so there is no way the hit taken by the financial centers of the world could be transmitted to us. We don't see fluctuations in repayment rates or anything like that. We are O.K.

How would you help the world out of recession?

Azmath Shamrad

NEWCASTLE, ENGLAND

The system failed us. There's no reason why we should resuscitate it. We have to make absolutely sure that we don't go back to the same old normalcy. We should be creating a new normalcy. That opportunity has to be taken.

Microfinancing empowers Bangladeshi women. Is it driving cultural change?

Lucas Torrin, OTTAWA

The most dramatic thing that has happened in Bangladesh in the past 25 years is the total change in the status of women. Microcredit has played a very important role in that, particularly with poor women.

Has technology like cell-phone payment changed the microlending environment?

Daniel Weldon, PORTLAND, ORE.

Not yet, but it opens up the door for all kinds of cell-phone-based banking facilities, health-care facilities, marketing facilities. The cell-phone [network in Bangladesh] has been laid out, so now it's a question of bringing the programs and content to those things.

Have you ever found an incident of corruption involving a Grameen Bank loan?

Rudi Toruan

SAMARINDA, INDONESIA

We have cases of corruption, but Grameen Bank now has 28,000 staff, 8 million borrowers and 2,600 branches. We lend out over $100 million each month and have a similar amount coming back. It's very easy to put money in your pocket. But the amazing thing is that cases of corruption are so rare.

Do you think the model of microlending that is so successful in Bangladesh can be applied elsewhere?

Sadruddin Salman

DHAKA, BANGLADESH

Today Grameen programs are everywhere. We even have a program in New York City, and it works beautifully. It's the same system as in the villages of Bangladesh. We do it in Latin American countries--in Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica--in exactly the same way.

Why has it been difficult to implement microcredit schemes in Africa?

Obi Iwuagwu, LAGOS, NIGERIA

We have a program in Zambia, and we have absolutely no problem. If somebody says microcredit doesn't work in Africa, I would not agree. I see it working.

Population growth contributes greatly to global poverty. What are your thoughts about the problem?

Bob O'Connor, OSLO

Thirty years back, Bangladeshi mothers had an average of 6.2 children. Today the average is 3.1. The population-growth rate has drastically come down, and among many explanations is the empowerment of women. They became aware of their ability to handle their lives and make decisions. Microcredit is not a population program, but it has helped women see how they can live their own lives.

As individuals, what's the best thing we can do to consign poverty to museums?

Louise Holly, LONDON

Make people believe that we can send poverty to museums. When I talk about it, people laugh and say, "It's impossible." But when you don't believe something, you can't achieve it. You have to imagine and make that imagination achievable.

VIDEO AT TIME.COM

To watch a video interview with Muhammad Yunus and subscribe to the 10 Questions podcast on iTunes, go to time.com/10questions

Friday, October 16, 2009

Kiva 2010 Calendar is here...

Look at a few pictures contained in the calendar...





Wednesday, October 14, 2009

First Kiva team to reach $1,000,000.00 in loans.

Congrats to the Atheists, Agnostics, Skeptics, Freethinkers, Secular Humanists and the Non-Religious, for being the first Kiva team to reach one million dollars in loans. But watch it, we are going to beat you soon (yeah right!).

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

September Stats

The most relevant aspect about September is the growth in terms of membership the team had. Nineteen new members joined the team, the biggest number since October 2008, where 45 new loaners joined. It was fun tracking down the new members, and here they are, welcome to the team:

Steve (Salem, OR)
Rigo
Jorge (Vancouver, BC, Canada)
A&L (Bellevue, WA)
Queen La Chica (Duncan, BC, Canada)
Ivan (Estado de Mexico, Mexico)
El peso nuestro (Cd. Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico)
Federico (Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico)
Sergio (Distrito Federal, Mexico)
Juan & Marisol MM (San Francisco, CA)
Daniela (Baltimore, MD)
salvador (East Palo Alto, CA)
Arturo (Sylmar, CA)
Sergio (Baldwin Park, CA)
Paul (Cholula, Puebla, Mexico)
Mary (Bend, OR)
m in nyc (US)
Julianne (Portland, OR)
Deena (Mesa, AZ)

If I missed someone, my apologies. Let me know so I can acknowledge you next time.





Monday, October 5, 2009

The end of the world as we know it! Again!

Massive property destruction, millions dying, a whole city gobbled up by the ocean!!! Hollywood loves, LOVES destroying our biggest metropolitan areas and most recognizable landmarks over and over again. Earthquake? Checked. Meteorite? Checked. Alien invasion, zombie attack and lethal virus? Checked, checked and checked! Oh, and super big monsters and nuclear war too!

But the movie 2012 promises to be on a new level of cheesy special effects, unbelievable plot and terrible acting. I mean, the world is coming to an end, do I see frenzied panic on the face of the denizens of this movie? Do they fall on their knees in paralyzing fear as anybody on this situation would do? No, they are cool enough to drive a limo dodging crumbling streets and freeways, even through a falling skyscraper!

I dare you to sit and watch…



The Mayan calendar ends in 2012, big deal, go purchase a new Mayan calendar and we save the world!

Friday, September 11, 2009

August Stats

August was our third best month! We added $3,900.00 to our amount loaned, a growth of 33.33% more than July, well done!

We have nine new members, welcome:
Raul (Denver,CO)
Damien (Italy)
Dominic (Baton Rouge, LA)
Diana
Cornelia (Hamburg,Germany)
Alexandra (Vancouver, BC, Canada)
Maria (Castle Rock, CO)
Hector (Monterrey, Mexico)
Rachel (Gurnee, Il)

Again, team stuck on page 7 for some time now:

Impact within the Kiva community (out of 8467 Kiva lending teams)
Number of Loans866Ranking: 69
Quantity Loaned$33,975.00Ranking: 68
Number of Members145Ranking: 65


Now the graphics:














By the way Happy Birthday Para Mexico!!!

It is hard to believe that one year has gone already, it sure looks like yesterday when this group started just a few days after Kiva implemented the feature.

At the end of the team's first month, $225.00 where loaned and 14 members had joined. Look at us now, with nearly $35,000.00 loaned and 147 members. I guess we can conclude this team has been a success!!

Thanks to the founding members that joined over the first month:

Nuri
adelas y elias
Azucena
Ricardo
Christine
Cindy & Dan
Carlos
Eli
Jim & Conchita Burmeister
Gabriel
Andres
Ximena

And thanks everyone for joining the team and supporting more than one thousands entrepreneurs in Mexico and around the world. Let’s make the second year as successful as the first one!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

One thousand loans!!! Another great milestone, congrats everyone...

Monday, August 3, 2009

July Stats

July was an OK month. We did not break any records, and it wasn't one of the best months, be the team kept wrowing on total amount loaned, number of loans and membership. Five new members joined on July, welcome:

Brian (Walnut, CA)
Rosa (Brawley, CA)
Claudia
Let (Toluca, Mexico)
Monica (Toluca, Mexico)

We reached the total amount loaned of $30,000.00 finally. It took us 6 months to reach $10,000.00, 3 months to reach $20,000.00, and three more months to add another ten thousands.

The conflict with Admic Nacional has finally reached a solution. Despite the fraud orchestrated by the managers, Adminc Nacional will repay the nearly $50,000.00 it owes to kiva lenders over a two year period. Better than nothing. It is really sad that that an organization whose goal is to help out those who need it the most has betrayed so many people that in good faith trusted them with their hard earned money. I’m also disappointed with the information Kiva is disclosing about this, they don’t mention further details about the nature of the fraud or if the responsible people have been held accountable.

Fundacion para la Vivienda Progresiva and Fundacion Realidad are the field partners serving Mexican Entrepreneurs left. They seem to be in good standing and repaying thier debts.

Now the graphics...






Tuesday, July 28, 2009

$30,000.00

Thirty thousands dollars loaned to entrepreneurs around the world. Congratulations team, way to go!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Monday, July 20, 2009

Fly the undressed skies

I guess I speak for a lot of people when I say that nobody really listens to the onboard safety announcement when flying on your generic national airways company. But If I happen to be flying on Air New Zealand, I'll be paying a lot more of attention to such announcement. It's safe for work, don't worry! But a lot of fun...

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

June Stats

June was our second best month, we loaned $3,925.00, an increase of 16.90%, not bad! Membership also had the biggest grow in three months. An unusual amount of people is joining Kiva as a result of the opening of its platform to entrepreneurs of the United States. That increase may be trickling down to our group. Welcome our 12 new members:

Christian
Leticia (Wapato, WA)
Ivan (Mexicali, Mexico)
Bob (Sapulpa, OK)
Pepe (DF, Mexico)
Emilio (San Jose, CA)
Brent (New York, NY)
Gabriel (Los Angeles, CA)
Bryan & Nicole (Houston, TX)
jose jesus (Tlatizapan, Mexico)
Liz (Westbrook, CT)
David (Evansville, IL)

Again, not a lot of change of the position of our team within the Kiva community, we have been stuck on page 7 for some time now.

Impact within the Kiva community (out of 7289 Kiva lending teams)
Number of Loans866Ranking: 64 (+3 from previous month)
Quantity Loaned$27,150.00Ranking: 68 (+2 from previous month)
Number of Members133Ranking: 62 (-1 from previous month)


Now the graphics:








I have been presenting the same graphics and information for some time now, if you have some ideas about some other data about your team you would like to see, let me know.

I have not receive any communication from Kiva regarding the problems with Admic Nacional, got an email reply with pretty much the same information as the field partner's web page. That issue is still pending.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Sin Nombre

I just saw “Sin Nombre” at our great Capri Theatre here in Montgomery. I left the theatre speechless, hard to believe that such a beautiful movie can show so accurately the brutality and dangers awaiting immigrants traveling through Mexico hoping to reach the United States. It is not a feel-good movie, it hits you hard over and over again, and then some more.

The movie is about two teenagers, Sayra, a young Honduran girl planning to trek with her Dad and Uncle all the way from Tegucigalpa to New Jersey, and Willie/Casper, a Mara Salvatrucha member in Tapachula, Mexico, who turned his back to his gang and is being hunted. They will meet each other and will end up traveling together to the North. This is a movie you just have to see. Go to your local art cinema, add it to your Netflix queue, ask for it on you closest video-rental store.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Kiva now open to entrepreneurs in the USA



It has been a very busy day for Kiva today. First a TV segment on ABC’s Good Morning America! this morning featuring a story about Kiva. As if that was no big deal, Kiva got a big name behind them to sponsor their efforts, Maria Shriver, the wife of the Terminator Governor himself.

So why is Kiva getting the spotlight today? They opened up their platform to entrepreneurs in the United States, here is the official announcement:

“Today Kiva got a little closer to its mission of connecting people around the world for the sake of alleviating poverty. Starting today, lenders can make loans to microentrepreneurs in the US.

When Kiva first started, it focused on lending to entrepreneurs in Africa. In the last 4 years we have expanded to many more regions around the world, focusing in developing nations. However, our desire has always been to be a truly global organization, and to allow individuals anywhere in the world to make loans anywhere else in the world. Kiva believes that poverty exists in many forms throughout the world and that we can play a part in helping alleviate that poverty by allowing people to lend through our website.

Therefore, to be a truly global organization, Kiva is expanding into microfinance markets in the developed world. Since over 70% of our lenders are currently from North America, the United States was a natural first choice. We know there is much more to be done to fully achieve our mission of connecting people throughout the world, but we are very excited about this first step. We look forward to the day when money is flowing in all directions around the world through Kiva: a Guatemalan woman making a loan to an entrepreneur in Detroit, a man in Uganda making a loan to an entrepreneur in Rwanda, and an Italian lending to a Filipino farmer. We are excited about these possibilities and look forward to seeing them become a reality.”

The debate on this new feature has been animated to say the least. There are members that are very enthusiastic and believe that lending to entrepreneurs in the USA was the last missing feature to help more people leave poverty, and grow the Kiva lenders base.

Some others believe that entrepreneurs in the USA are far wealthier and in less need of help that people in developed countries. This will siphon funds that may otherwise could have gone to a truly needy entrepreneur that does not enjoy the opportunities that Americans have.

Browsing through the new loans on Kiva, I realized that some US entrepreneurs are well educated and already enjoy a good standard of living, for instance, Mark. Mark has an Architecture degree, is currently employed as a graphic designer, and he is planning to open his own small business, Urban Digital. He is requesting a $7,000 loan to fund his company. Mark was succesfull in getting the funds he needed from Kiva.

Seems to me like for this particular case, Mark could have found different funding resources that woud not have taken resources of Kiva lenders from other truly needed entrepreneurs. I am not saying that Mark's aspirations are not legitimate and he is less deserving, but I believe that it serves Kiva's purpouse better to find other entrepreneurs who to lend to.

Monday, June 1, 2009

May Stats

Oh well, I took a month long hiatus from editing this blog, but the monthly stats are back! Unfortunately my internet access is somehow limited right now, so I will not be able to provide complete information as in other months.

Total amount loaned grew by $3,850.00. Our third best month. Seems like nothing will beat our own February 2009, where our total amount loaned was $4,250.00.

Also after some stagnation on new membership, we have eleven new team mates, including our first member from Singapore.

Welcome:
Octavio (Mexico City)
Anonymous (Singapore)
Gerardo
Anonymous (Chihuahua, Mexico)
Andrea (Anchorage, AK)
Paulina (Kitchener, ON)
César (Toluca, Mexico)
Abril (Villahermosa, Mexico)
Johnny (United States)
Alfonso (Berkeley, CA)
John & Jeanne (Auburn, AL. One more member from Alabama, War Eagle!)

Now the graphics:




Friday, May 1, 2009

April Stats

The total amount loaned grew a respectable 20.34% during April, for a total of $3,275.00. Our third best month so far. We added 109 new loans, making our team jump four places, to position 63 out of 6279 Kiva lending teams.

I have notice that altough our team is not very big compared to other monster-teams such as AASFSHNR, Kiva Christians and Team Obama, our Number of Loans per Member is actually higher than two of them:

AASFSHNR: 4.11
Kiva Christians: 6.88
Team Obama: 4.39
Para Mexico: 5.70

No doubt our team members have a high commitment in this cause. Keep up the good work!

On team membership, it was the slowest monthly growth. Five new members joined us, one left us, for a net gain of four. Welcome:
viri (Los Angeles, CA)
Judith
Rosy
Sharon (Toledo, OH)
Ruth (Shoreline, WA)

Now the graphics: