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Author Topic: HPMF = Florence's Mirembe School
Tatiana
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Okay, as you can see above, we got a bunch of repayments on our around the 15th of the month. I suggest we wait until about the first of the month to pick a loan, as there are a lot more available then the way things fall out with the new repayment system (known as P2 to kiva insiders).

The way the new repayment system works is that we get credited with partial repayments as soon as they hit kiva's bank account from the MFIs (microfinance institutions) in the field. If you remember, before we didn't get paid back until each loan was paid in full. Then we received the total loan amount. So the new system frees up a lot of capital for people to make new loans. Because of this, round about the 15th - 20th when everyone's payments hit their kiva accounts, all the available loans get snapped up by eager lenders flush with cash. Then they run out of cash and the loans that hit the site from around the 1st to the 14th just languish.

That's when I say we should make our move. Then we have leisure to pick just the loans we like. And even with the MFIs defaulting on us occasionally, and with our exacting selection criteria (loan must be used in a way that will generate more income, must be used for something wholesome and beneficial, mustn't involve usury, cruelty to animals, or destructive environmental activities, etc.), we'll still be able to find that one perfect loan that suits us to a T.

We did loan $75 to a business last week, just to get some of our liquidity into use. I'll write it up for the board next time. If you can't wait to see it, you can go to our profile and click on her there. The baby's expression is what hooked me, of course.

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Tatiana
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One of the lenders on kiva friends is in the habit of posting a good luck comment on his every loan's journal page. One time he got a reply from a borrower who was ecstatic to find that people from around the world were wishing her well and hoping for the success of her business. I thought that was such a cool thing for both the borrower and the lender that I've started doing the same thing. I'll pass along any replies we might get. In the meantime if any of you would like to send your encouragement and best wishes to our lenders, please do. I'm sure if they receive the message it will fill them with excitement and enthusiasm. Just follow the links to the pages for the individual loans, and at the bottom are all the journal entries (if any) along with a place to add your comments. Hopefully we will get an answer at some point as well, though not all the messages will make it through to our mostly remote borrowers with no internet. I think the fact that people care, though, makes even more difference to the businesspeople than the funds alone could possibly do. It makes them realize that, in the grand scheme of things, they really do matter. I get a great kick out of that thought.
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Strider
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That all sounds great Tatiana. It works out well, every time you post I'm reminded of the fact that I probably have some free money in my account!
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Tatiana
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I finally posted details for our two latest loans. See the first post for more information. I'm picking mostly farmers lately to help, mainly because I'm worried about the global food shortage. Anything we can do to get more crops into the ground could end up saving lives.
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Kama
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quote:
Ms. Ngov Savy looks remarkably young for her age!
I'm pretty sure that age must have been a typo [Wink]
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Tatiana
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Yeah, maybe 28 or even 18. [Smile] On the other hand, I knew a Japanese lady in her 60s who looked not much older than Ms. Savy. So who knows?
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Tatiana
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We have a new loan today. I'll post details later. Check lending team jatraqueros for information in the meantime. [Big Grin]

I think it's pretty cool that we have 63 loans now from our team, and the jatraqueros account has 26. From small beginnings come great things.

[ March 02, 2009, 04:36 PM: Message edited by: Tatiana ]

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Tatiana
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There's a new spreadsheet that one of the kiva friends made that gives you a fantastic view of your account. I'm trying to figure out how to make it available to everyone to download and look at. It's impressive. It shows all our loans, and then summarizes them and breaks them down in every way you can imagine.

Someone help me figure out the best way to post it. It's for windows excel. Should I just take a series of snapshots and post those? It would be a lot, like 25 or something. I'd much rather make the spreadsheet itself available to people. Do most people have Excel or something that can read Excel files? It's full of macros, though I don't think you need to run them again, once I've loaded the data from our account, and run the routines to do the analysis once. Is it possible to upload Excel files to somewhere like Photobucket for anyone to download? Somebody said something about making a Google document. Would that work? And if so, how would I do it?

[ March 18, 2009, 07:03 PM: Message edited by: Tatiana ]

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Tatiana
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I think I figured it out. Y'all tell me if this works. jatraqueros kiva account summary.
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Tatiana
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Click on the tabs at the bottom for "summary", "stats", "loans", and "future cash flow". Let me know if it works for you. [Smile]
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Tatiana
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I think this information is extremely cool. Now that we have it, we can use it to spread our portfolio risk evenly among the different MFIs, countries, sectors, etc. We can also monitor the outstanding loans for delinquent payback. It's got a whole lot of information in it that can be useful in many ways.
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Tatiana
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Because it's a lot of work to set up the spreadsheet, export the info from kiva into the spreadsheet, then convert it to a google document for online viewing, I won't do it again, at least not frequently, unless it seems that people really want to see it. Post or email to let me know if you want to see it. It has all the information to allow us to gloat over how much we've accomplished, [Smile] . Come to think of it, I'll probably do it from time to time just for my own enjoyment.

That said, let me introduce you to Mrs. Aminata Kassongue, an entrepreneur in Koutiala, Mali who sells condiments. This is one of a number of very attractive loans coming from Mali lately. It is only a six month term, so we get our money back quickly to loan to someone else. It's a 4 star MFI, and we share it with only one other lender, LaurentD of Brussels Belgium, who is truly a prodigious lender.

He's the superstar of European lenders on kiva. Check out his lender page. He currently has 7816 loans, and he often loans more than the minimum $25 per loan. On this loan, for instance, he chipped in $50 and we picked up the other $250. I'm glad for the chance to honor LaurentD for his abundant lending. =)

And we wish Mrs. Kassongue much success with her condiments stand. The wares look quite appealing in the picture. I wish I had some now.

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Tatiana
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By the way, our jatraqueros team has now loaned 81 loans, or an average of 9 loans per member, for a grand total of $3,650, in the time that we've been a team. This doesn't include the jatraqueros account from before team lending was possible. That one has 27 loans or a total of $5175, some of which are included in the 81 above, because since team lending began, I've assigned all our loans to the jatraqueros team. However you look at it, though, the total is quite impressive. [Smile]
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Tatiana
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I did two loans for May. The first one I just couldn't resist only had $25 left to fund so I went for it. It was to a girl named Juanita in Peru. It's only an 8 month loan and it's for fertilizers and labor wages for her farm. The second one was for $300 to a guy named Faress in Lebanon. We now have 29 loans and we're circulating about $2500 in our fund now. I'm just reloaning whatever money comes in, lately. I'm assuming everyone who wants to play is making their own accounts nowadays and joining team jatraqueros. So the rotating fund will keep rotating but there's rarely anything new added to it.
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Kwea
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I think that just the fact we have this is very cool, and thank you for keeping it going.
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Strider
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I love that Team Obama is the 3rd largest team on Kiva!

Tatiana, on the page that shows our statistics, i'm a bit confused. It says we have 95 total loans, and over $4000 loaned. That's the total loaned by the team and members of the team since the team has been together? so it includes individual loans, but not any that were pre team, correct?

also, thanks for the explanation above, i always wondered why we had a member named jatraqueros!

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Tatiana
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Yes, That's correct. They wouldn't let me add the past loans of the jatraqueros account (the account we had before teams existed) to our new team. So only loans going forward count toward the team totals. So that would be all the loans that any of the members choose to put toward the team.

I put most of my individual loans from my Tatiana account toward our team, with only a scattering toward the other teams that have recruited me, because I feel like this is my home team. And of course all the subsequent loans by the account named jatraqueros will go toward team jatraqueros. I'm just relending all funds that are repaid to that account now. There aren't any new funds going in, now that we have a team where we can each have our own accounts. Our regular anonymous donor has suspended new donations for now, as well. So I'm just continuing to cycle the fund back to new loans as the old loans are paid off.

As a side note, my personal account hit 200 loans recently. <celebrates> It says 199 but actually I made a mistake and picked the same loan twice. It took several weeks to be funded and I had forgotten about it by the time I chose it the second time. So kiva counts that as a single loan (quite properly), while I count it as two. [Smile]

I'm excited about hitting 200, but I'm very small potatoes compared to some of the kiva friends. The most prolific lender (Good Dogg) is about to pass 10,000 loans! And there are a few more who aren't far behind him. Laurent of Brussels and Claus-Peter from Germany are closing in. Diane R, bikeme, etc. all are in the multiple-thousands of loans so far. They're really hardcore! One kiva friend got the kiva symbol tattooed onto her ankle. I love it! =)

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Strider
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that's awesome. congrats on 200!
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Tatiana
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Thanks!

You know, one of the most important things kiva does has nothing at all to do with money. By connecting us and giving us a stake in each other's success across the world, kiva is helping to make the world into one big family. As a Latter-day saint, I feel this is an extremely important function. In no way is this official, but it's my feeling that all of our temples all over the world are primarily dedicated to achieving this same end. "If you aren't one, you aren't mine."

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Tatiana
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There's a controversy now on kiva that I think the team needs to know about. A few of the loans that kiva has listed involve cockfighting, or rather raising fighting cocks for sale. That upsets me quite a lot, and I hope kiva will decide not to list loans involving blood sports in the future. Cockfighting is something people do in rural areas here, too. It's pretty ugly, and involves the birds with razor blades attached to their feet fighting to the death while people bet and look on to enjoy the spectacle. To me, it's really beyond the pale.

kiva doesn't list loans for prostitution businesses, even in countries where it's legal. They draw a line and don't help drug traffickers get their businesses going. You know? The only question is where the line is drawn, and so far kiva has decided not to ban cockfighting loans from countries where the sport is legal.

So, I want to ask what you guys think about it? I hate even being associated at all with any organization that promotes cockfighting in any way. I want to know what y'all think, though. Especially those of you who have contributed to our fund.

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Strider
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quote:
I hate even being associated at all with any organization that promotes cockfighting in any way.
you summed it up. What can we do?
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Tatiana
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I'm not sure what we can do. Take our money elsewhere, if they don't change the policy? There's not another good person to person lending platform like kiva, though. There's donors choose, where you get to pick a small project to give to. Most that I've done there are for teachers in the U.S. wanting books for their kids.

That's a good thing, but I feel like kiva reaches the world's very poor far better, and also it's nice to be able to help more people by lending again and again the same funds.

There's microplace, which even earns interest on your loan, but it only shows representative borrowers of the Micro Finance Institution to which you're lending, so the person to person connection is lost entirely.

I'm open to ideas and possible responses to the problem.

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Kama
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I'd wait for kiva's official position before making any decisions.
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Strider
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i did a search on this and it apparently has been going on for over a year(found an article from 2/08). So unless recent articles will push this into the public spotlight a bit more, I think we know what Kiva's official position is.

I don't like the idea of taking our money elsewhere either, but I do think we should make our displeasure known, at least to start with.

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Kwea
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Just don't loan it to any of those places. We can control where OUR money goes, right? [Big Grin]
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Tatiana
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Kiva has made known that their official policy doesn't preclude blood sports that are legal in the target country. This might include dog fighting as well, someday, though as far as I know there have been no dogfighting loans yet on kiva.

Kwea, that's one answer that some kiva friends are following. I feel okay about doing that for off-license liquor stores, animals raised for slaughter, and such things. For some reason cockfighting just sticks in my craw. I feel that from me personally it requires more response. Like I don't even want to have anything to do with any organization that associates itself with that. But for the group account, I'll do whatever you guys decide.

Strider, here's what I've done to let them know how I feel. I posted on kiva friends forum that I'm taking my personal money out of kiva over this. (I just don't feel right about keeping it there.) And that I was consulting with the team to decide what to do about the team account. Kiva officers all interact with us on that forum.

I'll also write to contactus@kiva.org and say the same thing. I'll send a message to the kiva friends -- kiva liaison, Diane R, that it's a big problem for me, and I encourage those of you who are concerned to do the same.

[ May 12, 2009, 11:21 PM: Message edited by: Tatiana ]

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Tatiana
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I'm opening the voting.

1) Keep on lending, but avoid loans for businesses associated with blood sports.

2) Remove the fund from kiva and put it in another charity.

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aiua
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I just joined Kiva a few days ago, though on my university's team. Even if I had known about the cock fighting, I still would have joined. All that means is I look a little more closely at where I'm making my loans. As it stands now, my three have charcoal, tailoring, and concessions businesses.
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Katarain
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Mind you, I'm not a contributor, so I'm not going to vote...but it seems to me that your loans are going to support the individuals who you fund, not the Kiva organization. Withholding money is withholding money from them, not from Kiva, as it would be for a conventional charity. Just avoid the businesses involved in bloodsport and fund the other ones. Why punish the non-bloodsport businesses?

It doesn't seem to make sense to have this be the deciding factor. You're not going to donate to non-bloodsport businesses because it is possible to donate to bloodsport businesses using the same medium? That kind of sounds like you're not going to donate to a charity using PayPal because someone else could use PayPal to pay a terrorist organization or something like it.

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aspectre
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If PayPal made it a policy to transfer funds to terrorist organizations, the governments would shut 'em down.

And forgetting the blood sport aspect entirely, the kiva is funding household terrorism. We ain't talkin' about a high-class audience here: the profits from cockfighting has always been from giving folks an excuse to gamble and get drunk.
And guess whose wife gets beaten and children get deprived cuz some drunkard wants to steal her money to fund his addictions.
Every kiva cent spent to support cockfighting is probably depriving poor families of several hundred times more in necessities.

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Strider
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i'm voting 1 for now. while i'm upset, i still believe in their mission and I'm not ready to abandon it.
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Kama
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I see nothing wrong with gambling or getting drunk in general.
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Kwea
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apsectre, people use money for food too, and kill for it. Why don't we kill anyone holding food and prevent that problem too?


[Roll Eyes]


I vote just to loan to people doing those businesses, the whole POINT of kiva is being able to control your cash and where it goes to maximize the type of impact you want to have(not to fund terrorism, despite aspecte's "eloquent" examples) on a community.

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Strider
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quote:
I see nothing wrong with gambling or getting drunk in general.
my problem isn't gambling or getting drunk, it's the chicken fighting.
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Kama
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yes, mine too.
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Kwea
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same here
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Tatiana
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Sounds like we have a consensus. We'll keep the money in the jatraqueros account rotating with kiva loans that don't support bloodsports. Thanks for your votes, guys.

I'm taking the money in my Tatiana account out as it pays off, and I think I'm going to start looking at microplace. I'll let you know how it looks over there. Right now they loan on the MFI level only, but are looking at the possibility of going person-to-person at some point.

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Kama
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Tatiana, a friend sent me this link once: https://www.myc4.com/Portal/Default.aspx
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Tatiana
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Thanks, Kama! That's a good alternative place for putting my funds.
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Mucus
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An interesting development. I'm rather of two minds on it myself and I'm not unsympathetic to both sides.

quote:
Seemed like a good idea last month when Kiva, the microfinance Web site specializing in loans to Third World entrepreneurs, opened up to Americans sinking under the waves of the Great Recession. The Pissed Off Kiva Lenders Team thinks otherwise.

The group, representing 420 registered Kiva users at last count, has risen up against the San Francisco nonprofit's "shift from making loans exclusively where the needs are greatest to where they are the least." The group's published broadsides are accompanied by compare-and-contrast thumbnails, juxtaposing an affluent-looking San Francisco graphic designer who recently got a $7,000 loan to buy computer equipment and a Peruvian peasant woman who borrowed $350 "to buy wool for knitting."

We get the point. So, apparently, do 43 percent of respondents to a Kiva-posted poll as of Wednesday afternoon. Then again, 48 percent favor the program, which started a month ago and has so far funded approximately 40 U.S. applicants. There is also a pro-U.S. countergroup, called the Kiva Happy Lenders.

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/07/08/BUK518KLG6.DTL&type=business

(usual caveats about web polls)

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Tatiana
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Yes, it's interesting to me that some people are very upset about kiva lending to people in the US. I don't see any problem, myself. A small minority are quite against it, though.

I was offline (IPS trouble) for 8 days in early July, so I've just now done the July loan. Go to our portfolio to see the entrepreneur I picked. I'll add an entry here soon.

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Tatiana
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Update: I've loaned to people each month around the first of the month, which you can see if you go to our lender page.

However, I'm seriously worried about kiva lately. They've made a number of questionable decisions and alienated almost their entire core lender base. Another MFI went belly up (Ebony Foundation in Kenya) and while there's some indication that the post-election violence played a part, many of the loans they funded were well after the violence. It seems that fraud has played its part.

I realize that as for MFI failure, we're nowhere near the mature default rate, which could go to 10% or 20% or higher. I think people will pull their money out of kiva when that happens, and kiva itself will be in danger of folding. They've made so many terrible business decisions during what for them is an up time, the steady increase in lending that they've encountered so far.

And if they close their doors, I don't think we can get even a cent back that we loaned. The lender agreement basically makes the loan indistinguishable from a gift.

So here's what I propose to do with the money. I have exact records on who gave what when. All the money funded by hatrackers I plan to withdraw as it's paid off and give it to a charity of the board's choice. This might be first book, or heifer international, or perhaps you'll want to give it to Florence's school, when I tell you about it.

Florence Kaluuba is a wonderful lady in Uganda who runs the Mirembe school for young girls, many of whom have been abandoned by their families and were street people. She teaches them to be teachers, or seamstresses, or how to run childcare facilities, hairdressing, and several other professions. Her graduates are in great demand. All the teachers have jobs waiting for them when they get out.

Her students learn also how to be good mothers to their children. The teacher graduates among them often go on to teach school in villages and neighborhoods where there was no school before. In this way there is a multiplier effect because each student of Florence's school teaches more students and so on. Overall the education level of the country advances, and education is the biggest driver of development. So by helping Florence we help the whole society.

Her seamstresses sew uniforms for the school children, her daycare professional students keep the young children of the students, etc. So that each facet of the school aids the other areas.

Here's the entire topic on the kiva friends forum documenting how we found and have donated to Florence's school in the past. We hold fundraisers from time to time for the purpose. Florence in turn gives us budgets of how she proposes to spend the money as well as photos of the classes, graduation ceremonies, and updates on the accreditation process, etc. The school is now accredited and has a good local reputation.

Here's a summary topic capturing in shorter form all the information we have received along the way about the school. It has captured my heart. These girls' lives have been turned around totally, and they go on to transform the lives of those around them, and of their own students, in turn. Florence works tirelessly to implement her vision. I think this is as worthy a cause as any I've seen anywhere, and so that's why the portion of funds I've contributed to the kiva fund (minus all the fees and kiva donations, which I paid myself not using any contributed funds for that) is going to Florence's school.

I'll donate the contributions of other hatrackers to whatever organization y'all choose. If you also decide to support Florence's school that will be easy. I'll just transfer all funds over as they're repaid. Otherwise it will take more accounting but I'll be glad to donate to First Book, Heifer, or whatever charity is chosen.

All good things have to come to an end, as you know. I wish kiva well and I hope they're able to get it together in order to be a sustainable steady-state operation at some time in the future. However, I would feel remiss in my duty to oversee this fund if I didn't flag the problems and exercise due diligence in saving as much of the fund as possible from future defaults. The money going to Florence would be a donation, not a loan. But I don't think there could be a worthier cause in which to invest our contributions.

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Jhai
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I suggest people give to Givewell's top rated charities - i.e. charities that have been vetted as actually producing cost-effective results.
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dkw
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Browsing that site, I don't agree with their selection criteria.

quote:
Does the charity publish high-quality monitoring and evaluation reports on its website? A charity meets this criteria if it freely publishes - on its website - at least one technical report that (a) discusses how the impact of a project or program was evaluated, including what information was collected and how it was collected; (b) discusses the actual impact of the project. (Why is monitoring and evaluation so important?) We seek enough evidence to be confident that a charity changed lives for the better - not simply that it carried out its activities as intended. Different programs aim for different sorts of life change, and must be assessed on different terms. We do not hold to a single universal rule for determining what "impact" we're looking for; rather, what we look for varies by program type. (For more, see, What constitutes impact?)


Does the charity stand out for program selection? A charity meets this criteria if it focuses primarily on (or publishes enough financial information to make it clear that 75% of its recent funding is devoted to) what we consider "priority programs" These programs have particularly strong evidence bases, enough to lower the burden of proof on a charity running them. (Why do we look for charities implementing proven programs?) Such programs include administering vaccinations, distributing insecticide-treated nets, and treating tuberculosis, among many others. (For more, see our full list of priority programs.)

I don't care if a charity's evaluation and monitoring reports are on their website, as long as they are publically available in some way. And while I agree with many of thier priorities, 75% of funding or more matching a list of specific programs is not vetting cost-effectiveness, it's vetting whether or not the organization has the same priorities as Givewell does.
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Strider
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Tatiana, I think you've done a fantastic job managing our loans. Whatever you decide is the most effective way to use this money, i'm fine with that. I came in pretty late though I think, most of my loans have been made after the team was formed.

But whatever I did contribute, please use as you wish.

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Tatiana
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Thanks, Strider!
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Jhai
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dkw, from what I can tell, Givewell's priorities on evaluation & monitoring are exactly identical to what any good development economist will tell you is important in tracking whether an intervention actually has measurable results. *shrug*
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dkw
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From their own statement, they make their initial review based on whether the information to make those calls is on the charities website. Not whether evaluation and monitoring reports exist, not whether they are available upon request, whether they are on the website. I checked several organizations that I am familiar with, that I know meet their criteria, and they were given 0/3 stars because they didn't have the information on their website. I think that is stupid and borderline dishonest. It would be more ethical to list them as "not reviewed" or leave them off the list altogether.
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Holden Karnofsky
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I am the co-Founder of GiveWell. I'm just posting to say that I think dkw raises a valid concern, and we have recently made a blog post discussing this issue. http://blog.givewell.net/?p=445
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Jhai
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dkw, I would say that lack of easily available public information is a big red flag for me in donating to a cause, and also a bad signal for the charity's actual work.

Given a limited number of donation dollars, I would prefer to donate to an organization which has their act together enough (and considers transparency an important enough issue) to get their information up on a website.

I realize that not everyone donates using this sort of approach. But, then, I'm the sort of person who gets really irritated by news that someone donated a bunch of money to a liberal arts college in the US or to organizations like the Boy Scouts. It's all about opportunity cost with me.

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