Driven by a mission to expand financial access to help underserved communities thrive, Kiva works to transform the landscape of microcredit and entrepreneurship in the developing world by offering a web-based system of microfinance that empowers individuals to lend to entrepreneurs across the globe.
Through its website, www.kiva.org, micro-entrepreneurs in developing countries make loan requests to create or expand their business enterprises to improve their lives and their families’ futures. After browsing loan requests, individual lenders select projects – funding as little as $25 and as much as the entire amount of the loan – and receive regular progress reports from the entrepreneur until the loan is repaid.
The Lex Mundi Pro Bono Foundation and 20 Lex Mundi member firms have played critical roles in helping Kiva carryout its innovative mission for more than 10 years. Lex Mundi member firms have provided advice and support on projects including compliance, research, and registration in several countries. With the Foundation’s help, Kiva has successfully grown in every major region of the world.
Most recently, five Lex Mundi Member firms generously provided counsel to Kiva as they explore a new lending model in six jurisdictions. Peroni Sosa Tellechea Burt & Narvaja (Paraguay), Rajah & Tann LLP (Singapore and Cambodia), Prez Bustamante & Ponce (Ecuador), Moghaizel Law Office (Lebanon), and Romulo Mabanta Buenaventura Sayoc & de los Angeles (Philippines) all provided Kiva with detailed research and guidance on local regulations to consider as they think through expanding their lending programming in these countries.
The Foundation’s work with Kiva clearly shows the power and breadth of the Lex Mundi network which Kiva’s General Counsel, Austin Choi, recognized stating: “[The Lex Mundi] network of global law firms has been extremely valuable in our efforts to expand and deepen our international operations.”
“Work by Lex Mundi is always top notch and pro bono work provides important benefits to the community that may not be readily obtained,” said Gianella Gallegos, an attorney at Prez Bustamante & Ponce who recently assisted on the Kiva project. “All lawyers should be involved in pro bono work not only because of professional responsibility but because of the great experience and the opportunity to assist people, thus enriching legal knowledge. I hope that our work for Kiva will allow the people of Ecuador and of other places to access funds that otherwise would not be available.”