My father, who died a year ago at almost 97 years old, always said of retirement that there is no end of things that you can do as long as you don’t need to be paid for them. I’m blessed to be able to follow in his footsteps. While we aren’t wealthy by any means, we are comfortable enough financially not to need to work. In the first few years of retirement, we did take paying jobs teaching English in Japan for a year and then China for several months. Since then, we’ve kept busy as volunteers in several capacities. In fact, at 68, I have just finished training for a brand new volunteer position that I’m very excited about!
I’ve often mentioned Kiva on the blog before. Kiva is a non-profit organization that allows a person to lend as little as $25 to a specific low-income entrepreneur in one of 77 countries around the world. When a loan is repaid, the money can be withdrawn or used to fund a new loan. Since making my first loan 11 years ago, I’ve been able to make 60 more by simply recycling the same money over and over again. When I learned that there was a need for volunteer editors, I realized that this might be an opportunity to put my skills into action and help in another way.
An average of about 16,000 loan profiles are posted on the Kiva website every month. Each one needs to be carefully edited to ensure that it complies with Kiva policies, that the borrower’s privacy is maintained, that details are consistent, and that the language is understandable to lenders while retaining, as much as possible, the voice of the original text. Kiva relies on over 400 volunteers, each editing approximately 40 loan descriptions a month, to complete this enormous task. That’s my new job! I’ve joined Kiva’s Review and Translation Program as a volunteer editor!
It was back in July of last year that I first expressed an interest in volunteering. My name was added to a wait list and I was told that I would hear from Kiva staff when they were ready to bring on new volunteer editors, probably much later in the year. In late November, I was asked to submit my resumé and complete an official application that included a brief loan review exercise. In early December, I was invited to take an editing test. Kiva works with a barebones staff and, like everyone else, they’ve been somewhat hindered by Covid slowdowns, so the wheels ground slowly, but at the beginning of February I was notified that my application was approved. At the beginning of March I started training and now I’m finally an active Kiva editor! I edited my first loan yesterday. The borrower was a farmer in Uganda who requested a loan to buy more cattle to fatten and resell.
Volunteer editors are split into teams each led by a volunteer team leader. I was assigned to a group called The Write Stuff which I find very fitting as writing has always been my passion! Kiva asks for a commitment of a minimum of 2 hours a week for at least 6 months, but I foresee being able to do this for a much longer period.
If you’re interested in making a loan, just click on the banner to the right.