As our blog readers know, we participate in pooling our money with other lenders around the world to fund microloans through Kiva to small business owners. Typically, these small business owners live in underprivileged areas but are trying to make a go at their businesses and lift themselves, their families and their communities out of poverty.
Our current goal is to help at least one borrower in every country on Kiva, and there are currently 73 countries where borrowers reside. We’re up to 32 countries with our latest loan, which is headed to Kosova to help Sanije. She has a business sewing handcrafted items.
Her loan spoke to us because we have the good fortune to live and work in the southern Appalachians of North Carolina, where craftwork has a rich heritage that is being preserved and which is cherished. You will see the work of local craftspeople everywhere, from the galleries in Asheville, Black Mountain and Old Fort to the Folk Art Center, from outdoor iron sculptures to perhaps even the tables at the local restaurant where you have your dinner.
Another aspect we liked about this particular loan was the Kiva Field Partner, KosInvest. The Field Partners are the loan institutions in each country that work with Kiva to connect lenders and borrowers. We love that KosInvest’s mission is “to improve the livelihoods of economically
active poor families from all communities through high quality financial
and business development services.” Business owners like Sanije are working hard to provide for their families and to stimulate their local economies, and KosInvest wants to help them succeed.
In addition, according to Kiva, “KosInvest predominantly works with rural
communities, which are more vulnerable to higher levels of poverty and
unemployment. In addition to being a post-conflict area, Kosovo has the
lowest per capita income in Europe, averaging about $3,000 annually.
KosInvest also sets itself apart by serving all ethnicities in Kosovo –
working with Albanians, Serbs in the north and Roma populations.”