By Iyanna Holmes

KF11, Liberia

Two weeks ago I traveled to Gbarnga, Liberia, a town about 100 miles northeast of Monrovia.  Because the Local Enterprise Assistance Program (LEAP) is expecting an increase in the amount of loans that they are allowed to post on Kiva, more branches must be trained in how to do Kiva.  But before they can learn the how, I must explain the what.  This can be a somewhat difficult task when much of my audience is not familiar with the idea of e-commerce, let alone e-lending.  After showing the group of loan officers the Kiva website, a video explaining how Kiva works, and telling them where Kiva works, a question was posed by one of the loan officers that I wasn’t expecting:

Why?

I was caught off guard by this question.  After immersing myself in all things Kiva, and reading countless microfinance, poverty alleviation, and development blogs and publications, I was prepared to answer a lot of questions, but none as basic as this one.  Why do we lend?  Because we can! Since my trip to Gbarnga, I have heard this question repeated by other loan officers.  And the more I think about it, I begin to realize that maybe the answer to this question is not that simple.  Maybe it is deeply personal and maybe it differs for every Kiva lender.

So Kiva lenders, help me to be better prepared to answer this question the next time it is posed.  Why do you lend on Kiva.org?

And for those who are not yet Kiva lenders, I have an even better question for you:  Why Not?

Iyanna Holmes is a Kiva Fellow working with Local Enterprise Assistance Program (LEAP) in Monrovia, Liberia.  Join the LEAP Lending Team.  There are borrowers from Liberia with LEAP, and many other entrepreneurs from around the world, who you can help by making a loan on the Kiva site.


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