iKiva helps bring entrepreneurs from places around the world into the pockets of people that today often spend too much time and resources on trivial things. Not only does the app help provide resources to people that actually need them, it also encourages people in the rich world to review their priorities in life.
iKiva was created by Vijay Kiran and released in April 2011. It is the first poverty related mobile app that is identified as transformative. There are other poverty apps out there, but that are either about information or fundraising, both valuable, but not transformative. The version of the app is a first step and brings the Kiva page into your pocket.
The story behind the creation of the app is well worth a reading and is truly inspirational. Vijay worked on and off for a year on this in his spare time and wanted to do something that was meaningful. It sounds like a story for a documentary about 21st century entrepreneurship.
iKiva is a client for Kiva.org and Kiva.org is a non-profit organization with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. Leveraging the internet and a worldwide network of microfinance institutions, Kiva lets individuals lend as little as $25 to help create opportunities around the world. The focus is entrepreneurs in in the developing countries in need of financial support to develop their ideas. Since Kiva was founded in 2005 there has been 593,702 Kiva lenders, $222 million in loans and a 98.79% repayment rate.
By May this app only had 1,652 downloads. This kind of app should have at least 100 000 as we need to do everything we can to eradicate poverty as soon as possible. There are still about one billion people in poverty and apps addressing this through direct involvement should be seen a key priority.
It would also be good to see developers adding features to this kind of app as well as ensuring that it works on all platforms.
Learn more about Kiva.org here
Lear more about the development of the app here
The best with the app/supporting initiative
+ It brings one of the most important challenges of the 21st century, poverty, straight into your pocket.
+ It provides a personal relation to people trying to innovate around the planet.
+ It supports the development of us as global citizens that think beyond national borders.
The weak parts of the app/supporting initiative
- It is only available on iPhone
- There is no clear link to the policy changes that are needed.
- As it only brings the webpage into a mobile format there are a lot of potential that take advantage of the mobility of the app that are not explored (geotagging, links to consumer goods that can be scanned with a smartphone, augmented reality solutions, etc).
What could accelerate this app/supporting initiative into a world changer?
> More users to start with.
> Links to global and national policies should also be encouraged. It is not enough with micro-lending, trade, investment and other policy regulations need to be reformed in order to support poverty reduction.
> Links to organisations that work over time to change policy frameworks could be provided in a future update. At a later stage, it would be great if the people asking for money also could provide information about the policy changes needed, maybe also allow people with smart sustainable ideas that are undermined by bad policies to give input (this is probably for Kiva and nothing iKiva could do on its own.)
> The environmental sustainability aspect could also be further explored. Now there is no incentive or way to find those entrepreneurs that are sustainable.
> More than anything it would be great to see some use of the mobility aspects so that when you walk into a grocery shop you could get a notification that this shop might carry the fair trade goods you have supported, and if not you could ask the people in the store to see if they could order them (or similar). Likewise, when policy makers, or companies, are about to make a decision related to the kind of solutions you have supported the app could provide suggestions for how to engage.
How direct is the delivery of the result the app tries to achieve
- Long shot
The user commits to the payment and then it is up to the entrepreneurs to deliver.
How transformative is it
- A new world
- A major shift
- A bit of a shake-up
- A gentle rocking
The fact that it is possible to bring a human face to investment is ground breaking. Many sustainable solutions are profitable today, they just don’t deliver high enough rate of return, and this result in a situation when investors chose un-sustainable solutions instead. Compared with financial institutions most people don’t require maximum rate of return if they know that they are supporting something they believe in.
How much does it encourage collaborations
How much are new networks supported
- Strong support for global networks?
- Currently encourages new forms of collaboration
- Provides interesting opportunities in the future
- Restricted to a small (expert) group
The fact that you are part of a group and it is only when the group succeed that your investment will deliver is interesting. “Co-supporters also support this…” should be a feature to explore in the future.
What synergies can be delivered
How well does it also solve other problems/generate solutions
- It solves everything
- Several important challenges
- Some important challenges
- Only one challenge
Today the investments/projects are in isolation, but they could be brought together in clusters and those presenting their solutions could be asked to present how they will deliver on different sustainability aspects. Many of them already do, but there is no framework to illustrate this.
Nine billion contribution
How global is it? Is it helping/will it help everyone on the planet
- Instant global equality
- Almost global
- Getting (incrementally) global
- Not applicable
Ensuring that the entrepreneurs in poor parts of the world can get capital for important investments is key. Obviously a significant challenge is that many of those most in need do not have the means to get out on the web. Besides support for initiatives that enable people to connect and make access affordable, it would also be good if the projects could clarify when they are helping non-connected people.
Building on current trends
How well does it use current trends
- The app is setting new trends by itself
- Building on multiple trends
- Effectively building on one trend
- Not really building on any major trend
Ensuring links that make your investment personal in the same way as the fast growing social networks is great.
How fast can it deliver
- It's already happening
- In the coming weeks
- In a year or so
- In a distant future (hopefully)
Each connection is contributing to global citizenship.
Does it support transformative transparency
- Brave new transparency
- Transparency that is innovative (never seen before)
- Increased transparency, but nothing innovative
- No increase in transparency
For many people poverty is an abstract concept and something that they see in mass media from time to time. This app brings a world seldom seen into the pockets of anyone who is interested.