A Fistful Of Dollars: The Story Of A Kiva.org Loan

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve explained the concept behind Kiva to family, friends, and people I’ve met along the way, but each time my explanation is slightly different.

This is because Kiva is really quite difficult to explain. It incorporates frightfully odd concepts such as microfinance, acronyms such as MFIs, faux acronyms (“what does K.I.V.A. stand for anyhow?”), frequently confused verbs “lend” and “borrow”, crossovers between banking and charity, international flows of money, interest and yet no interest, is it a tech start-up or is it a non-profit? It’s both Jim, but not as we know it.

I used to start with the basics: “Kiva is a website…”. But then I thought that makes it sound a bit, dare I say it, cheap, like hamsterdance.com is a website, so then I switched to “Kiva is a web-based non-profit organisation” which is the signal to most people to stop listening immediately and start planning an escape route to the bathroom.

I like to tailor the explanation depending on who the person is, how interested they seem, whether they know terminology such as microfinance or even the internet – in some Cambodian villages knowledge of the former outweighs knowledge of the latter whilst back home in England the opposite is true.

But when it comes down to it, does anyone really understand the Kiva process from start to finish? Well sure they do! But will we ever meet these mysterious people? Probably not.

So before I left my job at Credit Suisse in London, I decided it would be great to try and follow one loan through the system from start to finish, for the benefit of my colleagues who I coaxed into making a loan, and for myself, and for anyone else who is interested.

Three months later and my little project has reached fruition and dropped right off the tree in a sticky mess. An eleven minute video that I’ve effectively been married to for twelve weeks. It haunts my dreams. I’ve developed repetitive strain injury in my left arm from sitting at my laptop. 

But I’m thoroughly glad I did it as I’ve discovered a new passion for making and editing videos to add to my long list of hobbies-to-take-up-and-then-drop-months-later. And I’m right-handed anyway.

I hope that you enjoy watching it as much as I enjoyed making it.

Note: To watch the video in full screen (recommended) please click on the four arrows in the bottom right-hand corner of the video





To see all of the AMK loans currently fundraising on Kiva.org please click here

Additional note: To link directly to the video please use the following URL: http://www.vimeo.com/2769845

Posted in All, Angkor Microfinance Kampuchea (AMK), Cambodia, KF6 (Kiva Fellows 6th Class) Tagged: cambodia microfinance, fistful dollars microfinance, fistful of dollars kiva, how kiva loan works, kieran ball cambodia, kieran ball kiva fellow, kiva loan cambodia, kiva loan life, kiva microfinance amk microcredit microloans kieranball left arm broken, kiva microloans, lend entrepreneur developing country

About the author