Connecting communities through social entrepreneurship

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As AIESEC Alumni, we often search for ways to connect with our communities and continue the work we started as members.  We will try to showcase the options you have as Alumni to be involved within your local and global communities.

Kiva is one such example. Kiva is an international non-profit organization, which was established in 2005 and is based in San Francisco (USA). Its mission is to alleviate poverty by creating a platform where people can connect through lending. The organization allows people to lend money to individuals or projects of their choice, for sums as small as $25. We got in touch with AIESEC Alumni, Lars Herrig to find out more about this organization.

AAE: Tell us a bit about yourself.

LG: I was an active member of the AIESEC local committee Bochum and with an active role for AIESEC MC Germany during 1985-1988. My last position at the LC-level was LCP and at MC Germany as “Beirat”, which was something similar to an advisory board.

AAE: What is Kiva and how did you get involved with it?

LG: Kiva is an American NGO, which offers the option to lend money from private persons as a micro credit to entrepreneurs in more than 80 countries of the world, using local partner organizations. You can lend money in sectors like agriculture, food, retail, service, education and much more. I was invited by other AIESEC Alumni team captains like Adeep and Wolfgang. I want to improve the impact of AIESEC in Kiva, and because of this I was appointed to be the fourth team captain of AIESEC @ Kiva.

AAE: How long have you been involved with Kiva?

LG: I have been a member of the team for a year now. Other members in our teams have been active in Kiva for 8 or 10 years already.

AAE: Who is on the AIESEC Alumni Kiva team?

LG: There are 183 AIESEC members or AIESEC Alumni active in the team. You can see all members using this link: //www.kiva.org/team/aiesec/members

AAE: What projects have you been involved with so far?

LG: //www.kiva.org/team/aiesec/impact I made 21 loans in 19 countries spread all over the world in education, construction, agriculture etc.

AAE: Which projects have stood out for you personally so far? Are there any specific projects you would like to showcase for our readers?

LG: I decided to invest in short term loans to be able to lend the repaid money as soon as possible to another project. I’m looking for sustainable projects in areas with difficult financial infrastructure.

AAE: Do you choose the microfinance projects as a team within Kiva or is it an individual choice of who to sponsor through the microloans?

LG: It is mostly an individual decision for which projects I’m supporting. Some members do not have enough time to search for interesting loans by themselves and they are interested in getting some recommendations. Sometimes there are special Kiva promotions. By following these promotions you’ll get some matching investments from other funds. This means that if I’m lending 25 USD to a project in agriculture, the fund will fund another 25 USD.

AAE: What would you say to someone who is thinking about joining the Kiva community? Why should they do it?

LG: We should support entrepreneurs all over the world, who want to be responsible for their own life and for their families by taking a loan, using it for an investment and paying the money of the loan back. In my opinion it is good to support people to do their own business in their home countries.

 

You can find out more about the organization here: //www.kiva.org/about. The Kiva AIESEC Alumni team of 187 members is currently supporting a total of 844 projects. Since its start the team has manged to fund 7894 loans and is actively involved in the organization. Below you can see a break down of the project sectors currently being funded, as well as the regions of the projects in question.

Please join the AIESEC team on Kiva: //www.kiva.org/team/aiesec

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If you know of projects or initiatives which AIESEC Alumni could get involved with, please let us know. Let’s take one step further together to achieve the AIESEC vision. #SustainableDevelopmentGoals

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