Website review by
Polly Conway, Common Sense Media
Kiva Website Poster Image
Micro-loan site gives everyone the chance to help.

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Educational Value

Kids can learn concepts of lending and repaying money. They'll get a balanced view of the everyday lives of people in countries with very different economic and cultural backgrounds than here in the US.  Kids will also be intrigued to see how far $25 goes in other countries, opening the door to discuss how money works around the world. Kiva's lending system is a great way to involve the whole family in exploring social responsibility and making a difference.

Positive Messages

Kiva's lending system is a great way to involve the whole family in exploring social responsibility and making a difference.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Kiva gives people the opportunity to make loans to small business owners in third-world countries. Through clear text and video, Kiva's shows the impact that even a small loan can make for a struggling business. While the graphics used are simple, they're not necessarily geared toward kids. And descriptions can be a bit text-heavy, which makes Kiva best suited for a family learning activity.

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What's it about?

Kiva gives individuals, families, and groups the opportunity to invest as little as $25 in businesses in impoverished areas around the world. Kids can learn about people like Silvia in Nicaragua, who needs a new roof for her beauty shop and Norma, who owns a food stall in Bolivia and would be helped by an industrial food slicer. Kids can search for a borrower to fund based on industry (including food, construction, and retail), gender, and even whether or not they're in a conflict zone. Risk and repayment rate (98.95% at the time this review was written) are all fully disclosed.

Is it any good?

As a family activity, loaning through Kiva is a pretty cool thing to do. Kids should love the process of picking the folks they want to lend to! Through pictures and a short write-up of each business and the faces behind it, they'll discover that there are lots of ways to make a living. Kiva isn't geared directly towards kid-only usage, so it would be a good idea to sit down at the computer along with your child and talk through the steps (also a fantastic classroom activity!) and answer the questions they're bound to have about poverty in other countries.

They'll learn what it takes to make a small business grow, the difference between giving and lending, what it means to lend money to those in need, and, when loans get repaid, personal accountability. They'll appreciate the details of each person's story, making lending through Kiva seem personal and real. And here's the fun part: when a loan is repaid, families get to choose a new person or business to share that money with. That's exciting!

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about challenges other countries may have (extreme poverty, no clean drinking water, etc.) that kids may not have a full understanding of. What would be different about starting a farming business in Burma as opposed to Montana?

  • What are some different ways that people make a living? How do you think they got started?

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