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KIVA – How to choose a Borrower!

As team captain of the KIVA-team “Making Sense” I use the following process as a guideline:

Choose
– a region that shows good long term economic prospects – like South East Asia.
– a country that is stable and democratic

choose a “Field Partner” or “MFI” that has
– a long history and a plausible programme
– a good track record with KIVA (esp. low “Delinquency rate”, since this would go up first if problems arise)
– I tend to avoid religously affiliated partners – not out of any special dislike for a specific religion or religions in general, but because it seems to me that there are many religous lenders on KIVA, so religous partners will generally find it easier to find lenders.

choose a Borrower
– who uses the credit to improve his or her business (no home improvements etc)
– I prefer it when the borrower uses the credit for investments (like machinery, live stock) rather than to buy goods for a store.
-I prefer when the borrower produces something (whether furniture, farming, fishing, or cooking) rather than trades.
– a general wisdom is that women use money more wisely for the improvement of their families than men.
and last I have a gut feeling: would I enjoy buying the product from this person?

So Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia are possible countries; e.g. in the Philippines “NWTF” is my chosen “field partner” and, again as an example, I chose “Rosita” (fishing) as a borrower.

And then, of course, the wonderful twists and turns of reality bring up something unexpected that defies the guidelines: an australian Solar Lamps for profit company cooperates with micro finance institutions to lighten up Eastern Africa – an amazing project! See
a current (july 4, 2012) borrower in Tanzania
the company Barefoot on KIVA, their website, a very professional (suspicously so?) video on a fully funded borrower. This is very unusual, difficult to assess, but it could be a great story. So: let’s take the risk!

An amazing tool for filtering borrowers is http://www.kivalens.org/