Sep 26, 2014 KV Kiva HQ
By Lev Plaves
An Update on Kiva's Palestinian Partners
Updated September 26, 2014:
A ceasefire was declared between Israel and Hamas in Gaza in August, but Gaza is still dealing with a humanitarian crisis.  Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians are displaced following the turmoil, according to the UN. More than 2,100 people were killed during the conflict in Gaza, many of them civilians, and more than 10,000 were wounded. All residents of the Gaza Strip had their electricity and water systems disrupted completely. 
 
Kiva has received word from our Field Partners Ryada and FATEN that they are creating loan products that will help borrowers recover from the devastation. Ryada reports that while most of Ryada's clients have been affected by the conflict in indirect ways, 54 of Ryada's Kiva borrowers experienced wreckage to their homes. As a result Kiva and Ryada are working together to develop a loan product to help these borrowers and other Gazans who had parts of their houses damaged or completely destroyed. Sabah, for example, had part of her home destroyed in the conflict. Thanks to support from Kiva lenders, she can begin to rebuild her home, and Ryada is able to offer this loan at a lower interest rate and with more flexible loan terms.
 
Details on FATEN's recovery loans are still forthcoming, but loans from both partners will be tagged with both "Conflict Zone" and "Disaster Recovery" and will be posted to the Kiva website soon. 

Posted July 31, 2014:
Given the recent conflict in Gaza, we've gotten a number of questions from lenders asking about Kiva borrowers and Field Partners working in this area of the world. Kiva shares the concerns expressed by many of our lenders and we are in the process of following up with our Palestinian partners to ascertain how they and their borrowers have been impacted by the war.

We know that some microfinance borrowers (and their businesses) have been affected, both directly and indirectly, by the violence. Given that events continue to unfold by the minute, coupled with the fact that our Field Partners' headquarters (all located in the West Bank) are currently closed for the Eid al-Fitr holiday, we do not yet have information specific to Kiva borrowers. Our partners have made it very clear, however, that they appreciate the concern expressed and support offered by Kiva and Kiva lenders. We will continue to be in communication with our partners, both to assess how we can be of help to them and to gather additional information about Kiva borrowers in the costal strip. 

When we have more information we'll update our community on this blog. Thanks to everyone for your genuine concern for the safety of our partners' staff and borrowers.

Comments

Most of us understand how difficult it can be currently dodging all the forms of attacks in the Gaza area so staying safe is a lot more important than updating us daily but the tv news shows us the worst of attacks on UN Schools,the power plant destruction and it seems like even a temporary cease fire will yield little. But,let us know what short term help is needed for August and beyond,assuming there will be a truce,later.

Please let me know when I can reinvest in Palestine...

I would like to find other Kiva lenders who loan to Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank. Perhaps we can coordinate our loans to be of greater help than single $25 loans.

I looked for loans in Palestine today and it says that all the loans in Palestine are funded. Is this really true? Last week there were quite a lot of them sitting there needing funding...

When will reinvestment in Palestine be reopened?

Hi! Your update is a bit vague. Can you kindly update your update? :) Seriously. Can you give any more news as to why you've pulled all the loans to Palestine and what the plan is on your end? Thanks.

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As Kiva's Portfolio Associate for the Middle East and South Asia, Lev is responsible for growing Kiva's presence in the region while also training both new and existing field partners. Lev focuses on supporting partners in their Kiva operations, ensuring that they get the most out of their relationships with Kiva, while also identifying new partner organizations to be part of the Kiva platform. Prior to joining Kiva, Lev lived in Palestine for three years, where he worked for a youth empowerment organization. This experience helped spark his interest in the region as a whole, and he has since spent his time getting to know as many places as possible throughout the Middle East. Lev loves nothing more than exploring new cities and is excited to call Istanbul, Turkey his current home. After growing up in Berkeley, Lev studied International Politics at Wesleyan University, with a focus on International Relations and Middle Eastern politics. 

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