Apr 13, 2012 KV Kiva HQ
By Jonathan Bloom
Social Performance in Action: Vulnerable Groups
In addition to loans, many of our field partners go above and beyond by offering their clients additional services and support. To encourage these wraparound services, we established a Social Performance team here at Kiva and awarded these partners with badges corresponding to key areas of support. This series is designed to share stories from the field that demonstrate the amazing work our partners are doing to meet a range of client needs.



Isolation can be a breeding ground for the entrepreneurial spirit. Exclusion from financial and social services can force vulnerable groups to become self reliant and develop systems for self-sustainability and opportunity. This desire to create opportunity in spite of limited resources makes these groups particularly successful microfinance clients. Kiva works with partners who target these groups for loans and services to encourage and bolster their growth. Exclusion is most often a result of country and cultural specific circumstances, the most prevalent being:

• Post-conflict locations like South Sudan and Azerbaijan which result in Internally-Displaced Persons (IDPs) and refugee populations.

• Difficult to access areas such as the mountainous regions of Nepal, or extremely rural areas, which isolate populations from mainstream communities.

• Indigenous populations in the Americas.

Other potential examples of vulnerable groups include ethnic and religious minorities, people with disabilities, people with HIV, youth, unbanked farmers and often times, women.

One, often overlooked, group is the Roma people from Central and Eastern Europe. The Roma have been ostracized for decades in Europe and have a difficult time obtaining credit and financial services through traditional channels.

"The Roma minority in Europe is one of the most vulnerable and socially marginalized in the world. Financial inclusion of the Roma is a critical step for Europe's future."
-JD Bergeron, Senior Director, Social Performance


Roma Potato Farmer from Bulgaria

The article Roma Economic Inclusion and the Road to Legitimacy discusses the many steps being taken by the U.N., U.S.A.I.D., the World Bank and the European Union to bring this issue to the forefront and begin to address it. Check out the great examples of the programs that are being initiated in the region.

For our part, Kiva has recently partnered with KosInvest located in Kosovo. KosInvest targets the Roma population and is working to prove that their clients are credit worthy as they fund their micro-enterprises. Keep an eye out for this new partner and their loans for the Roma people!

Click here to make a loan now and help an entrepreneur from a vulnerable group.

Photo courtesy of JD Bergeron

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Jonathan Bloom As the Field Support Specialist for North America, Central America and the Caribbean, Jon is responsible for training new field partners in the region, and supporting existing partners in their Kiva operations to ensure a successful collaboration. Prior to joining Kiva as an FSS, Jon interned at Kiva with both the Community Outreach and Social Performance Teams. His passion for international development began as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Panama, working in the field of environmental conservation while living on an indigenous reservation. He began his career in microfinance as a graduate intern in Chile while conducting researching for his thesis. Jon holds a B.A. in Psychology and Spanish from Sonoma State University and an MSW from the University of Nevada, Reno.

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