Game Design, Programming and running a one-man games business…

Kudos to Kiva

Positech Games is not Intel, I do not make megabucks. However, it does make a small profit, and once I’ve spent my allowance of profits on silly things like robot vacuum cleaners (stopped using it tbh), I have some pennies left over which I sometimes put into a site called Kiva.

Kiva - loans that change lives

If you haven’t heard of kiva, here is the one-line pitch. Kiva is a bank which provides loans to people in the third world. Basically you stick some cash in using paypal (minimum loan is $25) and then you browse the list of people you want to lend money to, and pick one. Over time, the money gets paid back, and you can take your money back then, or re-loan it. Kiva pay you zero interest.

I don’t mind the zero-interest, because that’s one way kiva makes some money to run the site (you can donate too). Also, given current bank interest rates, zero is almost competitive :D

I’ve stuck the odd $25 in kiva for ages now, and have lent money to 24 different entrepreneurs all over the world. Here are some examples:

  • Nguy?n Th? Nhân (Pig farmer in Vietnam)
  • Francisco Javier Lopez Ruiz (Fruit seller in Nicaragua)
  • Sok Kung (Farmer in Cambodia)…

I love kiva because its not just throwing charitable cash and hoping to solve a short-term problem, its investing in countries helping to build up their own economies and become self sufficient. I’m a bit of a politics junkie, and very aware of how first world mega-corps can screw third world producers, so I’m often lending money to farmers in the third world. I like the idea that I help out tiny one-man companies like mine, who otherwise would have to go to some big evil bank, and I like screwing those banks out of business too :D. Also, I’m aware how lucky I am to be born in a wealthy country like the UK. If I was born in Cambodia would I have a nice internet business? I doubt it. I like to see a chance being given to people who want to start a business and live somewhere that makes it difficult.

Kiva is a good site, the loans seem to ALWAYS get paid back (maybe poorer people are more honest than city bankers?). You can give gift certificates, and join groups who all lend money in the name of an organisation (I’m in the indie game developers group :D).

So remember, Somewhere there is a vietnamese pig farmer who feeds her pigs thanks to your purchase of Kudos 2 :D

8 thoughts on Kudos to Kiva

  1. Thanks, I like the idea of that site. I think I’ll split my money between this and doctors w/out borders from now on.

  2. What kind of evidence is there that this is real?

    I like the idea, but my paranoid self starts to think the website just sticks the money in the bank and collects a couple percent interest or invests in stocks or something. :/

  3. The skepticism for charities always astounds me. It was covered in just about every major media outlet, there are documentaries made on it, they’re a huge company that loans out millions of dollars a month with half a million users, people who use it have actually met people in the third world who have benefited from this, and people still think it’s fake? Really?

    Here’s the indie games team for those who want to join:

  4. Nice one Cliff
    Why is it I always forget to donate to that site when I have the money and remember when I don’t. Must set a reminder.

  5. A week or two ago I received the last of my repayments from my own Kiva loan. ( It’s quite a satisfying thing to do with your spare money.

    I think one reason the loans almost always get paid back is because these places have a less cavalier attitude to risk than we do. We have all sorts of slogans like “who dares wins” and “you’ve got to be in it to win it” and a culture that favours the person that tries and fails over the person who plays it safe.

    Or maybe I’m reading too much into it. ;)

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