03 May 2015

Twenty-five Bucks and a Degree in French

I just completed the second stage of an application process to become a volunteer translator for Kiva.  You might have noticed an ad for Kiva on my sidebar here at Chez Cerise.  Kiva is an international microfinance organization which matches borrowers (typically in the developing world) to lenders throughout the globe.  Lenders can peruse lists of borrowers, categorized by location, type of business, length of loan repayment, and more.  Click here to see how it works.  As a lender, I can pledge as little as $25 toward a loan of perhaps a few thousand U.S. dollars that the borrower, a small business owner, can invest in his or her business, and then repay by the end of the term.

Dan and I have made 49 loans over the past several years, totaling $1,125, through Kiva.  At any given time, we have about $250 circulating through various hands.  We’ve loaned money to entrepeneurs in twenty-eight different countries on four continents and have only experienced one default (but our $25 was refunded to us via the lending organization in Peru).  We currently have active loans that are in the repayment phase in Guatemala, Azerbaijan, Ghana, the Philippines, Burkina Faso, and Colombia.  Our daughters each have their own Kiva accounts and have chosen to support specific borrowers as well.  We’ve recommended Kiva to a number of friends and family members who have made their own loans, too.

Quite some time ago, I signed up to become a volunteer translator with Kiva.  A few weeks ago I received an invitation to officially apply, and today I took the next step in the application process.  This step consisted of two parts.  The easy part was the translation test.  I was given sample passages to translate from French to English.  These passages enable the borrower to give a snapshot of his or her business, and often include some details about his or her personal life, which the prospective lenders read in order to learn more about the person or organization receiving the loan.  The second part of the test was more challenging and asked me to evaluate various loan requests for acceptability – really a kind of proofreading and fact checking, or a vetting of the request.  It required me to code various issues I encountered, to identify what sector of business a loan would fall under, and to determine if the loan request was legal and/or accurate based on the information given.

I should learn within a month if I’ve passed this stage of the process.  It’s been a fun one and I hope that I am offered the opportunity to help Kiva in this way.  Click if you’d like to learn more about Kiva, or to sign up to become a lender or to help in any other way.  While any money loaned on Kiva is not considered a tax-deductible donation (because you’ll likely be repaid), Kiva has a very high rating from Charity Navigator, if you want to see where the money actually goes.