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FITE from KIVA, Because it Works

FITE: (Financial Independence Through Entrepreneurship. A breath of fresh perspective from Kiva, the micro loan organization that is already changing world poverty.

Happy Birthday Kiva

Essi Félicité Adzamua in Togo, Photo: Abby Gray/Kiva

My investment in Kiva, as a loaner to a small business, is one of my favorite things. A simple donation of as little as $25 can radically change a life in poverty regions around the world. Kiva makes micro-loans to entrepreneurs for whom loans that would seem quite small and insignificant to us can stock a small shop with vital goods for a community, buy a sewing machine to launch a clothing business, purchase drugs for a medical clinic, or more. Borrowers pay back the micro-loans with regular installment payments, and then you can roll over your small investment to another borrower who is changing their world. Peruse the online profiles and loan requests to find a project that inspires and moves you. You can also give a micro-loan in the name of a loved one.

For Kiva’s fifth birthday (having loaned over $150 million dollars so far to nearly 400,000 entrepreneurs around the world), there is a special promotion going on through October. If you refer five others who invest, again, as little as a base investment of 25 bucks, the Omidyar Network will invest a $25 dollar credit for you to put into a community. Click here to learn about the October birthday offer, and here to get the full Kiva story. October is a great birthday celebration for these game-changers, but think about a charitable gift to another in the approaching holiday season as well…or do BOTH.


I’d like you to meet my new business partner,  Améwossina Sanvi. She runs a small food store in Tsévié, Togo. I’ve made a micro-loan to her on My loan, along with the loans of others, will allow Améwossina to purchase more rice and oil in bulk and some canned goods to sell in her shop. She has two children she is trying to keep in school while her husband works out of the country and rarely comes back.

There are hundreds of other entrepreneurs you and I can help with a loan of only $25. Most of us have twenty-five bucks, and 402236the beautiful thing about Kiva is that 100% of my loan goes to Améwossina. They asked me online if I would be willing to also donate an additional couple of bucks for overhead, but if I wasn’t able to, it would not have decreased my loan. It is all about getting people on their feet, and when the loan is paid back (I will be getting regular updates during the term of the loan), I can just take my money back, re-invest it in another dream, or donate it to the organization.

What represents a few cappuccinos for me is an opportunity to keep kids in school and keep stomachs full on the other side of the world.

Think about investing in a life or many lives. I have to say, I really love the idea of this—and having a personal story to attach to my donation means a lot more to me than just writing a check to an organization. I’m really proud of Améwossina—she’s a great business partner.