I bought into the microfinance system almost 20 years ago. An avid reader at the time of Leo Babauta’s Zen Habits blog, I joined his group lending $25 to people around the world to support their nascent businesses. We used Kiva.
For many years, repayments came in regularly, and I would re-loan the money. I don’t know when I first noticed that the loans were not going to people but to organizations. And the repayments became infrequent. It would be months before one of my $25 loans was repaid in order for me to loan again.
Meanwhile there came a barrage of daily (or more often) emails from Kiva to loan more.
I was growing suspicious. Didn’t know why. But something had changed.
I also started to read little snippets about microfinance not always working.
Then came this article in MIT Technology Review. What happened to the microfinance organization Kiva? A group of strikers argue that the organization seems more focused on making money than creating change. Are they right? By Mara Kardas-Nelsonarchive.
“The Kiva users noticed that the changes happened as compensation to Kiva’s top employees increased dramatically. In 2020, the CEO took home over $800,000. Combined, Kiva’s top 10 executives made nearly $3.5 million in 2020. In 2021, nearly half of Kiva’s revenue went to staff salaries.”
Despite this income, Kiva turned over CEOs almost as fast as the Cleveland Browns turn over quarterbacks.
All this to suggest that we all need to reevaluate our processes and patterns periodically. Sometimes our path had turned into a rut leading somewhere we don’t wish to be.
This works for leadership, as well. It is good to have people question processes from time-to-time. The process that worked ten years ago may be detrimental today.