Kiva is taking on different types of partners — not just conventional microfinance, but institutions that provide strong social entrepreneurship (with a focus on alleviating poverty).
One of their exciting new partners is Barefoot Power. Their mission is to replace expensive, dangerous kerosene lamps with efficient, safe LED lights in Africa:
Why replace kerosene? The poor burn USD$17 billion of kerosene each year in lanterns to light their homes. Kerosene is expensive, and the poor lighting from lamps makes it difficult for children to study and minimizes effective working hours for adults. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are over 300,000 deaths every year from burns, and nearly 4 million women suffer from severe burns from open fires and kerosene lighting each year (approximately the number who are diagnosed with AIDS each year). In addition, more children die from fire-related injuries than from tuberculosis or malaria.
In order to combat this energy poverty, Barefoot designs and manufactures a range of “micro-solar” lighting products that use long-lasting, white LED technology. Recognized for high quality and affordability, Barefoot’s products are now available in 75 countries, providing over 600,000 people with alternatives to kerosene.
As usual, an email to Kiva, routed to Laura Piper, verified that they don’t charge interest:
Thanks so much for your email.
Barefoot Power loans on Kiva have a 0% interest rate and are without any fees.
Please let me know if you have any additional questions!
Community Support Coordinator
One caveat — all of the loans here go to resellers. Currently, the only loan present is for someone who works for the Anglican Church, and uses the church as his launch pad for his business.