Jun 17, 2014 KV Kiva HQ
By Audra Wingard
Cool New Partners: Fair Trade Apparel, Solar Communities and an Accelerator With a Mission
A desire for innovation and change fills the hearts of both Kiva lenders and borrowers. As part of Kiva’s work to make microfinance as innovative and impactful as possible, Kiva is excited to announce  new partnerships with Indigenous Designs, Village Infrastructure, and Fledge. Unlike traditional microfinance institutions, these organizations offer unique services to individuals, communities, and companies who need it most.

Indigenous Designs
Peru

Who are they? Indigenous Designs is an organic and fair trade apparel company that works to preserve fair trade wages and artisan cooperatives. Indigenous Designs sources from hand-knitting artisans in South America who use natural, eco-friendly materials in the high quality clothing they produce.

Why are they unique? The organization promotes supply chain transparency through use of the Fair Trace Tool, which connects artisans who produce clothes to the consumers who ultimately buy them. Indigenous Designs’ new partnership with Kiva will allow it to offer 0% interest loans to the economically disadvantaged artisans who produce their apparel.

You’ll love them if…
You like to know the real story behind the clothes you wear!

To learn more about Indigenous Designs visit: http://www.kiva.org/partners/353

Village Infrastructure Angels
Vanuatu

Who are they? 
Village Infrastructure is a for-profit enterprise that makes solar energy affordable to low income communities in developing countries. The organization provides villages with solar charging stations that provide safe and sustainable energy for lighting and cell phone charging.

Why is it unique? Village Infrastructure creates jobs for local entrepreneurs in Vanuatu whom they hire to sell and install the affordable solar stations in villages. Each household pays between USD $2-$3 weekly for the solar energy for a period of 1-3 years, after which time the village owns the solar infrastructure. Kiva’s loans will allow villages to pay less for solar energy than they currently do for kerosene lamps.

You’ll love them if…
Solar energy is your fav cause and you want to help it reach developing countries.

To learn more about Village Infrastructure visit: http://www.kiva.org/partners/307

Fledge
Tanzania


Who are they? Fledge is a “conscious company” business accelerator that mentors and invests in entrepreneurs who strive to make a positive impact in the world through social or environmental change. Qualifying companies are invited to attend a 10-week mentorship program and given $15,000 for participation. 

Why is it unique? Under its new partnership with Kiva, Fledge will offer loans to new companies who need funds to scale up their company and sufficiently meet the proven consumer demand for their product or service. Loans are between $5,000 and 20,000, which gives entrepreneurs enough funding to grow their company to a level that is attractive to investors. 

You’ll love them if…
You dig the tech model of accelerators and want to help emerging companies scale.

To learn more about Fledge visit: http://www.kiva.org/partners/350

Comments

I just made a loan thru Maya Mountain Cacao(cacao production in Belize). That loan has a number of things in common with your above comments like Fair Trade, and Sustainability, while respecting both the culture and the environment. I think this looks like a new focus which merits a NEW SOCIAL PREFORMANCE BADGE. Creating a new badge would serve to highlight these activities and serve to funnel funds in that direction. If this sounds like a good idea, we need to define the scope and requirements for this new badge and come up with a good name for it.

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Audra just graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in Anthropology and Education. She was first introduced to microloans during a trip to Oaxaca, Mexico where she toured a group of small businesses local women had started using microloans. She was inspired by the excitement these women had about their businesses and the successful profits they were already gaining from them. Audra wants to work for Kiva and help motivated people overcome financial obstacles and achieve their dreams. During her time at UC Berkeley she volunteered in a number of schools and education programs in Oakland and San Francisco and loves to work with kids. She plans to go to graduate school for International Educational Development. and hopes to eventually work internationally to help increase access to education.

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