Ian Matthews is an intern on Kiva’s Strategic Initiatives team, looking for new partners and loan products to extend opportunities and access to even more people around the world. Ian has an MSc in Global Politics from the London School of Economics and Political Science and has previously done field work in Honduras.

Kiva Blog Updates

Aug 21, 2012 KV Kiva HQ
In a memorable scene from the movie Slumdog Millionaire, seven-year old Jamal dives through a latrine, emerges covered in excrement and runs to get the autograph of famous film star Amitabh Bachchan. It is probably the only time in the history of movies that a pit latrine has gotten a laugh.
Forgiving this glorified fart joke at the expense of poverty, the movie is permeated with other, less fanciful references to the challenges of water and sanitation in poor urban areas, also called slums. In one scene, children play and women wash in a sewage-filled river...
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Aug 14, 2012 KV Kiva HQ
If you haven’t noticed, we here in the United States are in the middle of a severe drought. Temperatures from Virginia to Nevada have been well over 100 degrees for months and it hasn’t rained an inch since April.
Farmers all over the American Midwest are taking the extraordinary measure of chopping down their crops to use as hay for cattle. The weather could affect up to 40% of this year’s total corn and soybean yields. In response, the Farm Service Agency (FSA) and USDA have rolled out a joint...
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Jul 31, 2012 KV Kiva HQ
In 1939, two Stanford graduates named Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard built an audio oscillator in their Palo Alto garage. They sold eight of these electronic sound testers to Walt Disney Studios for $5,000. With the money they started Hewlett-Packard, a.ka. HP. They also gave birth to Silicon Valley.

Two guys in a garage tinkering away, taking risks, working ungodly hours -- it’s an image that has become symbolic of startups everywhere. Unfortunately, it’s also changed the way people think of startups -- overshadowing small business efforts made by nonprofits,... Continue Reading >>
Jul 24, 2012 KV Kiva HQ

Cooking dinner can be a dangerous business (in my household, more so for the diners than for the cook). But for poor people around the world, flavor is the least of their concerns. 
The World Health Organization (WHO) lists indoor air pollution from household cooking as the leading environmental cause of death in the world. It contributes to over 2 million deaths annually -- more than are caused by malaria. And poor households that burn biomass (wood, charcoal, dung or crop residues) as fuel for heating and cooking are...
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Jul 17, 2012 KV Kiva HQ

In last week’s blog post, I discussed innovative programs that finance water access for the poor. This week we’ll turn our attention to sanitation.

I have chosen to focus on water and sanitation separately because the two are often combined and muddled by the development community. The challenge of delivering usable water revolves primarily around sustainable and clean access. Sanitation, however, is altogether more involved. Access is only one strand in a complex web of... Continue Reading >>
Jul 10, 2012 KV Kiva HQ
Water is life and sanitation is dignity. 
That’s a catch-phrase thrown around a lot in global development circles. Most often, it’s used by NGOs to galvanize support from the international community to recognize access to water and sanitation as a legally-entrenched human right. So far so good. In 2011, the United Nations, by a vote of 122-0, declared that access to safe and clean drinking water is essential to the enjoyment of life and all other human rights. 
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Jun 19, 2012 KV Kiva HQ
They started lining up before sunrise -- thousands of students and their parents waiting to secure one of the hundred spots that remained in the University of Johannesburg’s incoming class. When the gates opened at 8 a.m. and unclaimed spots were filled, a stampede ensued, injuring dozens and killing the mother...
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Jun 12, 2012 KV Kiva HQ
Not too long ago, there were places in the U.S. where you couldn’t get mail. That all changed in 1916 when President Woodrow Wilson signed the “Rural Post Roads Act” into law, mandating the construction of roads in rural areas just to deliver the mail.

The project had a budget of $85 million -- about $1.6 billion today -- to subsidize states to pave roads...
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Jun 5, 2012 KV Kiva HQ

The day is etched in the world’s collective consciousness: On January 18, 2012, Wikipedia went dark.

Okay, so maybe I’m being a little dramatic...

The protest against the Stop Online Piracy Act (better known as SOPA) only lasted a day, but its impact endured. And it begged a troubling question: What if someone could flip a switch and cut off access to information?

It’s hard to imagine, given the innumerable apps, smart phones and websites that are... Continue Reading >>
May 29, 2012 KV Kiva HQ
Víctor Tulio lives with his wife and son in Costa Rica. With a loan, he expects to be able to buy fertilizer and pay laborers to make the most of the good climate and soil conditions to grow coffee. He hopes to put into practice his experience managing coffee production to buy the best inputs and grow the highest quality product he can.

This is a randomly selected loan profile from the Kiva site. Víctor is just one of 1,100 borrowers that work in agriculture... Continue Reading >>