Jan 6, 2017 KV Kiva HQ
By Natalie Brown
A fantastic field partner: saving wildlife, wild places and local communities worldwide

This month, we’re happy to celebrate our partnership with an organization working to save the planet and all of its inhabitants: Wildlife Conservation Society.


The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) is a U.S.-based NGO that works hard to save wildlife and biodiverse spaces worldwide through science, conservation action, education and inspiring people to value nature.



WCS’s goal is to conserve the world’s largest wild places in 15 regions around the world that are home to more than 50% of the world’s biodiversity. Some of these regions include the East African forests and savannahs, the Southeast Asian archipelago and the New York seascape. WCS works to help ensure a future for some of the most treasured and threatened species on the planet, including African elephants, coastal dolphins and gorillas.
 



While WCS takes action to save wildlife and wild places around the world, they know they must also take into account the needs of the people living there. The problem is that local communities living in the most biodiverse regions of the world suffer from many challenges including chronic poverty, giving them limited livelihood opportunities and leading to the unsustainable use of natural resources.


Kiva partnered with WCS to support their Conservation Enterprise Development Program (CEDP), which they created to develop small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that deliver alternative sources of income to communities as well as conservation outcomes. These SMEs are managed by and benefit local communities, while contributing to the conservation of some of the world’s most biodiversity-rich areas.


Entrepreneurs who pursue enterprises in conservation are already faced with numerous challenges. One of the most difficult challenges is access to capital. Luckily, Kiva’s 0% interest and risk-tolerant capital allows the CEDP to have a greater impact and reach enterprises excluded from traditional financing.


Not only is WCS working to save wildlife and wild places worldwide, but they are ensuring that people can live in harmony with the world’s natural places while improving the livelihoods of people around the world. And that is a mission Kiva can stand by.


As they state on their website, “Wildlife is worth fighting for. Our community is growing strong and it will take all of us to protect the species and places we love.” If you would like to donate to WCS, you can visit their website here. If you would like to make a loan to support a more sustainable planet, you can do so here.

 

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Originally from Philadelphia, Natalie moved to San Francisco after graduating college to pursue her passion for helping people around the world. She received her B.A. in International Studies with a concentration in Africa from Elon University, and studied abroad twice during that time. Her love for Africa was solidified during her travels, first in Ghana where she visited schools and danced at durbars, then in Tanzania where she worked at a radio station and conducted field research in a village. A lover of languages, she can converse in French and Swahili (her favorite word being “bia”- beer), and she hopes to one day be in Senegal where she can speak French while living in Africa. It was in Tanzania that she first visited a microfinance institution, the Mama Bahati Foundation, which opened her eyes to the beauty of microfinance. Last summer, she canvassed for Doctors without Borders, and loved knowing she was working to help others. Now, she looks forward to the fulfilling work she will do at Kiva and to helping connect people around the world.

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