Voices from across our global community reflecting on COVID-19 efforts
Since the pandemic began, Kiva has been coordinating with our lending community and strategic partners to drive resources and awareness in support of Kiva’s global COVID-19 relief efforts, resulting in over $50M raised thus far for communities impacted by the pandemic. These funds are supporting borrowers directly, and in this time of financial uncertainty, supporting our lending partners to develop new COVID-19 related recovery and resilience loan products.
Part of ensuring we stay aware of the shifting landscapes globally is staying connected to our community of lending partners, borrowers, volunteers, and lenders to hear how they are handling new challenges brought on by social distancing, lockdowns, and more. We’re highlighting here in this post our loans to lending partners – Crisis Support Loans – along with expansion of new loan products and our U.S. lending, stories from volunteers and staff, and responses directly from Kiva’s lenders and borrowers.
All over the world, from Ghana to Peru, we are seeing our partners and borrowers show tenacity and endurance as they continue to support the communities around them. In the video below, Cacao de Aroma and its farmers explain how critical funding from Crisis Support Loans is during this time.
Lina Ramirez, a Kiva investment manager working with partners in Colombia, Honduras, El Salvador and Costa Rica shared feedback she’s been receiving on these loans to our partners:
“When you talk to partners, they want liquidity because of the liquidity crunch they will experience in the coming months…Kiva is one of the only fund or impact investment vehicles that is helping them and driving to provide liquidity.
All of the Micro Investment Banks and impact funds that used to lend to them in this situation, they really don’t want to lend or they want to wait to see how the situation is in the future, how every country manages things.
One thing that the lending partners like about these loans is that they can use the liquidity for anything they want. Usually, our loans have to be used for a specific purpose, but this liquidity… if they need to pay another lender, they can use it to do so. If they need to pay the payroll, they can use it for that. Or they can even lend to their own clients. I think it was a relief to have this additional liquidity to be able to overcome and weather the current situation.”
Many of our lending partners have been able to adapt to the pandemic thanks to the creation and resourcing of COVID-19 recovery loan products to assist the borrowers our lending partners serve:
Crisis Support Loans: Fundación Paraguaya – Paraguay
Fundación Paraguaya launched a COVID-19 recovery product to provide capital injections for all-women community banks, helping them restart their businesses as lockdown restrictions are lifted in Paraguay. Created in partnership with Kiva, this product will be used to refinance a community bank’s existing loan at a higher amount, while also providing a 1-2 month grace period.
COVID-19 loan product pivot: Hattha Kaksekar Limited – Cambodia
Hattha Kaksekar Limited in Cambodia launched a COVID-19 recovery product that provides funding to small businesses and farmers who are vital to the supply chain of consumer products. Along with supporting borrower businesses, these loans will contribute to the country’s ability to meet local consumption needs during the pandemic. Borrowers who receive the COVID-19 recovery loans benefit from discounted interest rates and repayment schedules tailored to their needs.
Virtual technical assistance focused on COVID-19 resiliency – Ghana, Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania
In partnership with the African Management Institute (AMI), Kiva launched Survive to Thrive, a virtual program focused on COVID-19 resiliency designed specifically for African entrepreneurs and their teams who want to improve their businesses in these challenging times. Kiva’s Social Enterprises team invited 10 African businesses in our portfolio to participate in the program, including Farmerline (Ghana) Moringa Connect (Ghana) Meridia (Ghana) Rabboni (Uganda) Cycle Connect (Uganda) NUCAFE (Uganda) Deevabits Green Energy (Kenya) Cherehani (Kenya) Bidhaa Sasa (Kenya) ACTT (Tanzania).
Expanded U.S. loan product to support small businesses and entrepreneurs – United States
In response to the impacts of COVID-19 on small businesses across the United States, Kiva U.S. moved quickly to expand loan eligibility requirements so more businesses could access Kiva’s 0% interest loans; increased maximum loan sizes from $10,000 to $15,000; and instituted 6 month grace periods for greater financial flexibility. Since March 15, Kiva has funded 494 borrowers like Charisse from Clifton, Pennsylvania with over $3.5M in loans. These loans have supported: 66% women-owned businesses; 53% businesses led by people of color; 28% black-owned businesses. Thanks to matching loans from our strategic partners, during a single week in July, we raised nearly $500,000 in loans for more than 60 small businesses in 46 American cities, across 24 states.
More voices directly from our community regarding COVID-19 relief efforts:
Kiva’s Review and Translation Program volunteers reflect on their critical role translating loan profiles and what it has meant to them during a time like this.
“Kiva allows me, from home, to be part of the greater world community and to make a difference in improving people’s lives. It keeps life in perspective and yet with broad view, especially during this time of contraction around the world. Kiva has also given me an opportunity to use the language skills I spent years developing.”
A borrower reflects on her ability to adapt her business and products.
Abibata received a loan in Ghana through The Campaign for Female Education (CAMFED) to diversify her business to include the production of soap, which has been in high demand due to the pandemic. She says, “These are hard times for everyone and we all need to do the little we can to ensure our families and community members survive. That is why I am taking a loan to start the production of liquid soap at affordable prices for members of my community so we can stay safe to conquer this deadly virus together.”
A Kiva.org lender finds positivity in a time of uncertainty:
“I think the fact that the whole world is going through this together is very positive. It makes us all feel connected. This isn’t some disaster that is happening across the ocean, or only to poor people, or to someone who looks different to you, it is happening to all of us, everywhere, at the same time. It shows how close a human family we really are. People across the globe are no different than us. We can sympathize with everyone, including [lending] partners, who are suffering because we are, too.”
Through these voices and so many others, we’ve heard firsthand how truly interconnected the Kiva community is. We are grateful and humbled by new and evolving partnerships, supporting a global COVID-19 response together. We know there is so much more possibility and opportunity. We will keep listening and sharing.