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Author Topic: David Roodman, the Next Generation  (Read 12925 times)
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JohnR
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« on: October 13, 2009, 01:58:13 PM »

http://www.philanthropyaction.com/nc/even_more_questions_about_kiva/

This guy appears to have taken someone else's flawed commentary, added righteous indignation, then passed it along.  We get enough of that from AM radio.

Roodman even had to step in and correct him.  I'd like to give him a dope slap.   Punish

John
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Looking for serenity I am leaving the monestary.
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« Reply To This #1 on: October 15, 2009, 02:01:27 PM »

JohnR,

while I'm not sure I'm ready for a "dope-slap" I'll happily invite you to comment on the post at Philanthropy Action and point out the flaws in the analysis, either mine or David Roodman's.

But just so you and anyone else here who doesn't click through to the article understand: I believe that the way Kiva operates behind the scenes is the way it should operate to maximize the positive impact of the dollars it is channeling. If I am righteously indignant about anything it is not Kiva's misrepresentation of how it actually works, it is about donor's who demand that organizations like Kiva provide the illusion of person-to-person connection and then get angry when they discover it is an illusion.

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Jan & John
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« Reply To This #2 on: October 15, 2009, 11:16:12 PM »

I just noticed Matt twittered/tweeted... whatever Smiley

Quote
Spent afternoon with Jeremy, Gerard and Premal making the site more transparent:

http://www.kiva.org/about/how

-jan-
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bikeme1952
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« Reply To This #3 on: October 16, 2009, 03:45:25 AM »

Kiva has updated the How Kiva Works page: http://www.kiva.org/about/how


* How Kiva Works updated version - 10-15-2009.jpg (123.35 KB, 1280x768 - viewed 431 times.)
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bikeme1952
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« Reply To This #4 on: October 16, 2009, 04:13:10 AM »

It is possible that the update to the How Kiva Works page was inspired by the following document & comment:

What I found interesting about this document is that it shows that Kiva has been capable for at least half its history of explaining how it actually works in a very clear, accessible way. That Kiva shows a different picture on its web site therefore reflects a strategic choice, not an accident caused by scrambling to keep up with its growth.

David Roodman
Oct. 12, 2009

This document, although not dated, appears to be at least a couple of years old based on the pictures & descriptions as Mr. Roodman points out. Note, this is a document marketed to the MFIs, not the lenders & supports Mr. Roodman's comment.

Document Kiva uses to explain its operations to MFIs


* Kiva MFI Document #1.jpg (119.61 KB, 1280x768 - viewed 386 times.)

* Kiva MFI Document #2.jpg (107.89 KB, 1280x768 - viewed 401 times.)
« Last Edit: October 16, 2009, 07:06:58 AM by bikeme » Logged
David2051
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« Reply To This #5 on: October 16, 2009, 07:41:06 AM »

I just noticed Matt twittered/tweeted... whatever Smiley
Quote
Spent afternoon with Jeremy, Gerard and Premal making the site more transparent:

<a href="http://www.kiva.org/about/how" target="_blank">http://www.kiva.org/about/how[/url]
-jan-

Is anyone else tired of the word "transparent"?  What a trite, overused bit of jargonistic drivel...

Could Kiva just try to communicate clearly and openly?
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RichardF
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« Reply To This #6 on: October 16, 2009, 07:49:31 AM »

If my site is transparent on the ground, then how will I know if my head is up in the clouds?!   Cool Laugh
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Dottie b
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« Reply To This #7 on: October 16, 2009, 11:24:11 AM »

-jan-


Is anyone else tired of the word "transparent"?  What a trite, overused bit of jargonistic drivel...

Could Kiva just try to communicate clearly and openly?


I think the meaning of the word "transparent" is perfectly clear.  Wink
 
I hate jargon too, but transpartent is a commonly used term by nonprofit organizations, its meaning is clear, it's shorter than "try to communicate clearly and openly," and it's an adjective, which is often handy.

But I do appreciate any effort by Kiva to communicate clearly and openly.  Smiley

Dottie B

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AccountAbility
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« Reply To This #8 on: October 16, 2009, 02:57:44 PM »

Sometimes transparent becomes patently obscure when the originators tweak the wording to address what they interpret to be the recipients' mind set and interest.  Undecided

Any video is totally obscure to me by virtue of the computer hardware I normally visit the website with.  Sad

Dan
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YowieFreak
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« Reply To This #9 on: November 10, 2009, 12:59:51 AM »

I'd leave a comment here, as Matt requested, but I'm probably too naive to understand what is being discussed.  Sad
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« Reply To This #10 on: November 10, 2009, 12:16:27 PM »

I think the debate over transparency is interesting and worthwhile. However, it seems to me that we ought to be focusing on issues of greater importance in microfinance. I have made a modest proposal here (http://www.seattlemicrofinance.org) with the hopes of shifting the debate to where our emphasis should be in microfinance.
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RichardF
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« Reply To This #11 on: November 10, 2009, 12:41:36 PM »

Hi Ryan,  Wave  Nice blog!  Thumbs Up
If you're interested in a discourse with KFers on this, why don't you start a new topic here! 2500 Words  Yes Wink
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David2051
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« Reply To This #12 on: November 10, 2009, 07:33:00 PM »

If I am righteously indignant about anything it is not Kiva's misrepresentation of how it actually works, it is about donor's who demand that organizations like Kiva provide the illusion of person-to-person connection and then get angry when they discover it is an illusion.

I don't understand this characterization of Kiva's person to person lending model as an illusion.  When my particular loan post a repayment, I get the money.  If my particular loan defaults I get that too.  Making the claim that a timing issue means there is no person to person connection seems to me to be a total misrepresentation of reality.  Am I missing something??
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Join Team Smile Train!  http://www.kiva.org/team/smile_train  :-)

“send a postcard and receive a postcard back from a random person somewhere in the world!” http://www.postcrossing.com/

Learn more about ovarian cancer. Educate for early detection.  http://ovariancancerin.org/

Be a bone marrow donor, save a life.  http://bit.ly/4Amit

Change a child's life, be a sponsor.  http://children.org/
Wood Fairy Glenda
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« Reply To This #13 on: November 10, 2009, 08:44:05 PM »

Two years ago I went to Uganda with a house-building team from Habitat for Humanity.  After the trip I got to meet several of my borrowers (with the help of Kiva and the local microlender).  One of these borrowers was Florence, the creator of a school for women who had been forced to quit school because of pregnancy (Florence was at an education conference at the time, but I was able to visit her school).

I also had the pleasure of connecting two seamstresses in a local craft market with an agent of the MFI.  The agent came back with me to the craft market, took digital photos, and interviewed the two women while I was there with them. They subsequently appeared on the Kiva loan pages, and some KivaFriends of mine managed to keep them in their baskets till I, too, could join in supporting them (I think   Embarrassed I was the original reason for the "basketing phenomenon" here). Unfortunately, the MFI which was so helpful to me was later "closed" by Kiva due to some financial irregularities.

All I'm trying to communicate is, that at least at that time I felt a very direct, one to one relationship to the borrowers I supported in Uganda. Thumbs Up

I hope that Kiva will set things up so that lenders will feel the same thrill of connection again. (and no, I don't care if the loans are disbursed before I lend.  I would, though, like to get more feedback in the way of journal updates).

« Last Edit: November 10, 2009, 08:44:40 PM by Wood Fairy Glenda » Logged

Wood Fairy Glenda
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« Reply To This #14 on: November 10, 2009, 08:54:20 PM »

I wonder how long before someone starts picking on organisations such as World Vision - "Hey, did you know that if you stop supporting a child through World Vision, the child doesn't get left to starve.  Obviously you aren't really supporting that child, just the organisation - so let's shut them down - they're obviously evil !!"
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alan
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« Reply To This #15 on: November 10, 2009, 09:03:12 PM »

I wonder how long before someone starts picking on organisations such as World Vision - "Hey, did you know that if you stop supporting a child through World Vision, the child doesn't get left to starve.  Obviously you aren't really supporting that child, just the organisation - so let's shut them down - they're obviously evil !!"

 Laugh

Not to mention blood donor clinics that are set up during large-scale incidents. Did you know they don't immediately take your blood and infuse it into someone's veins on the spot?  Shocked Instead they take it back to their laboratory to be "processed" and who knows what? Swoon
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Wood Fairy Glenda
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« Reply To This #16 on: November 10, 2009, 09:05:08 PM »

Agreed, Ian -
     I have 27 sponsored people (mostly children, but several women too) around the world.  I've visited a number of them after some of my service trips - a truly wonderful experience.  The people who worked for the various NGOs were very clear that the money did not go directly to the child but rather to projects that would benefit the entire community (and voted on by the entire community).  Money from all the different sponsors was pooled so that the projects could be funded effectively.  
     I was much impressed by the good use of the money I and others had contributed.  I saw health centers, schools, microfinance operations, job training projects and many other things.  The families of the children I supported and to whom I contributed also benefited directly (school supplies, job training for the parents, and other things) but I was made aware that the money I contributed went to the whole community.
     At first I was somewhat shocked by this, but I have come to appreciate the benefits of this approach.  Among other things, the children I support are not resented by others in the community, but rather respected as people who are helping the entire community.
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Wood Fairy Glenda
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« Reply To This #17 on: November 11, 2009, 01:05:54 AM »

Two points:

1) The child sponsorship organizations, alternative gifts, and disaster relief charities have been getting dinged for this for years. It's been a central part of virtually all of the articles written. The point is that Kiva was doing something that other organizations had been called out for, and doing it with less transparency than those organizations do it.

2) A Kiva lender is not connected to a borrower via repayment. The MFI partner has complete discretion over whether to repay your loan and whether or not to tie that repayment to the repayment of the particular borrower in question.
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AccountAbility
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« Reply To This #18 on: November 11, 2009, 01:18:21 AM »

2) A Kiva lender is not connected to a borrower via repayment. The MFI partner has complete discretion over whether to repay your loan and whether or not to tie that repayment to the repayment of the particular borrower in question.

I would like to know where you are getting this piece of information.  Unless you have some outside source to share with us, I will continue to believe it when Kiva refers to its audits of actual loans in the field to repayments posted to Kiva.

Dan
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wthepoo
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« Reply To This #19 on: November 11, 2009, 05:10:25 AM »

I would like to know where you are getting this piece of information. 

Same here... it may be true that (a) Field Partners can cover for delinquent/defaulted borrowers on Kiva (I don't like that, either), (b) Kiva does not have any legal claim against the borrower and (c) Kiva sometimes agrees with troubled Field Partners on a different repayment and distribution scheme (like in the case of AN:K - again, that is greatly bothering me).

BUT - I was and still am under the impression that the Field Partners are under a legal obligation towards Kiva to forward any principal repayments collected by the borrowers to Kiva for further distribution among the lenders to this individual loan. Once the Field Partner does collect, they - I believe and hope - don't have any discretion at all whether to report this particular repayment to Kiva and make the funds available to the lenders of this very borrower.


Something else:

1) The child sponsorship organizations, alternative gifts, and disaster relief charities have been getting dinged for this for years. It's been a central part of virtually all of the articles written. The point is that Kiva was doing something that other organizations had been called out for, and doing it with less transparency than those organizations do it.

At least since late 2008, Kiva wasn't any less transparent, I feel - all the information has been readily accessible since then, and all lenders that took their time to read through the Help Center (or in fact even the loan requests that featured the "Date Disbursed") had access to it. Obviously, many lenders didn't take this time and fell for the - granted: simplified (but then, in this simplicity highly unlikely and in fact impossible) - short version of the Kiva story. I have a hard time blaming Kiva for that...

Best wishes,
Wolfgang.
« Last Edit: November 11, 2009, 08:22:47 AM by wthepoo » Logged
P, B and J
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« Reply To This #20 on: November 11, 2009, 07:46:59 AM »

Ian, Alan, Glenda, Dan, Wolfgang, thanks!  You've brought up some very, very pertinent examples and points to consider.  Thumbs Up

I don't have a problem with the fact that some borrowers (not all-I have one lady borrower who will receive her loan tomorrow, and the loan was posted on Kiva a month ago) have received their loan money before their loan request was posted on the Kiva website.  At first, when this became more explicit for me a long time ago, my bubble of idealism felt a little deflated, but that didn't last very long.

Quote
At least since late 2008, Kiva wasn't any less transparent, I feel - all the information has been readily accessible since then, and all lenders that took their time to read through the Help Center (or in fact even the loan requests that featured the "Date Disbursed") had access to it. Obviously, many lenders didn't take this time and fell for the - granted: simplified (but then, in this simplicity highly unlikely and in fact impossible - short version of the Kiva story. I have a hard time blaming Kiva for that...

I agree with Wolfgang that the lenders do have some responsibility in informing themselves, in taking actions themselves to increase or clarify their understanding of things, to ferret out (as Jan worded it elsewhere in the forum Smiley ) the information/fine print.
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RichardF
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« Reply To This #21 on: November 11, 2009, 08:48:46 AM »

Has anyone ever seen a boilerplate contract between Kiva and a Field Partner?  Is anyone here speaking from a legal contract, terms of use of the loans, factual background?  If not, we're all just speaking from inferences and speculation.
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Peter S
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« Reply To This #22 on: November 11, 2009, 09:05:27 AM »

Has anyone ever seen a boilerplate contract between Kiva and a Field Partner?  Is anyone here speaking from a legal contract, terms of use of the loans, factual background?  If not, we're all just speaking from inferences and speculation.

In particular, Timothy Ogden with his unsubstantiated statement that started this little digression:

"The MFI partner has complete discretion over whether to repay your loan and whether or not to tie that repayment to the repayment of the particular borrower in question."

He is the one who needs to provide some actual evidence to support that damaging assertion, not the people who very rightly question it and ask for evidence.

Peter
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« Reply To This #23 on: November 11, 2009, 10:09:04 AM »

During the early discussion regarding Currency Loss Sharing KF's compiled a list of questions which was submitted to Liz Harmon. This is her answer to one of my questions.

6: Will FX value on Loan Disbursal Date be the Basis for FX Loss calculation except when Pre-Funded, in which case Loan Funding Date would serve as Basis?

A: The FX rate on the day the loan was fully funded will be the basis for the calculation. This is because that’s the date on which the “contract” by which Kiva lenders agree to send the MFI money in USD is finalized.


Obviously they changed the "set" date for FX calcualtion to Date Listed rather than Date Funded. However, this seems to imply that there is a "contract" between Lenders and MFI on individual loans.

Greg
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