The Meedan Blog Archive

Meedan teams up with Kiva to help Arabic-speaking entrepreneurs

Keen readers of Meedan's latest newsletter (here if you missed it) will have noted a small notice announcing an exciting new project in partnership with Kiva - world leaders in connecting entrepreneurs around the world with microfinance lenders via their online platform.

Our project aims at increasing Kiva’s reach in the Middle East and increasing the access of Arabic-speaking entrepreneurs to microfinance from the English-speaking world. To achieve this Meedan will be working in cooperation with Kiva to enable the platform to support Arabic and other right-to-left languages, and to translate loan requests received in Arabic from Kiva’s partners in the Middle East  into English.

Here’s how it works:

Eid, a fisherman from Aley in Lebanon wants a loan to develop his fishing business. His loan is provided by a microfinance institution (MFI) - Al Majmoua - working in partnership with Kiva.

Al Majmoua works directly with Eid and sends Kiva a short description of Eid’s personal background, loan history and his reasons for wanting a loan. Until now, if an MFI in the Arabic-speaking world could not support the translation of this background information into English, they were unable to work with Kiva.

يعيش عيد البالغ من العمر 56 عاماً مع زوجته في منطقة عاليه. يعمل عيد في صيد السمك منذ 1990، عشرون عاماً في هذا المجال جعلت من عيد إبن البحر، بحيث انه لا يقوى على التوقف عن صيد السمك التي تعتبر هوايته المفضلة والوحيدة. عمد عيد ولأول مرة إلى طلب قرض من المجموعة لشراء عدة جديدة لمصلحته، مثال شباك صيد ولوازمهم... زبائنه بائعي السمك بالمفرق فهو ناشط في البيع بالجملة، كما أنه في بعض الأحيان يبيع لجيرانه و أقاربة بالمفرق. من أهم المشاكل التي واجهته خلال تأسيس عمله عدم خبرة في هذا المجال، مما جعلها صعبة في البداية إلى ان اتقنها جيداً. حبه لصيد السمك، وللبحر تحديداً كانا من الأسباب الاساسية في تطور عمله. يسعى عيد إلى تطور مصلحته، و إلى شراء سفن أكبر في المستقبل القريب.

Meedan then translates Eid’s loan request into English, posting it on the website:

Kiva’s community of microlenders can then offer financing to fill the loan, helping Eid get the funds he needs to develop his business. Eid then makes monthly repayments to Kiva’s MFI partners, who are then able to reinvest and help support others, like Eid, to improve their standard of living through business development and education.

Since the start of the program, has posted over 60 loans translated from Arabic, for entrepreneurs from Lebanon and Iraq working in a diverse variety of businesses: from hairdressing to tiling, transport to sales and fishing to tailoring.

We’re also working with Kiva to find and recruit new MFI partners in the region, expanding Kiva’s reach in additional countries by allowing partners to post loans directly to Kiva in Arabic.  It’s a fantastic way to increase Kiva’s impact in the Arabic-speaking world, and the impact of its donors, in a very real way and contribute to bridge-building between the West and Middle East.

Comments on this post

2011-01-06 13:20:58 -0800
The Problem with Kiva is that you cannot buy credits except via PayPal, which does not accept accounts from Lebanon, Kiva should also use another payment gateway such as