The Youth Company recognizes Silatech/Kiva program at gala ceremony.
Kiva Arab Youth, a joint initiative between Silatech and Kiva, the world’s largest micro-lending platform, has been awarded “Best Youth Program of 2012” by Qatar based social enterprise “The Youth Company” at its annual awards ceremony for initiatives which positively impact Qatari youth.
Awardees where nominated though a public vote made by youth based in Qatar.
Silatech is a social initiative focused on youth employment and entrepreneurship. The award was presented at a December 19 Gala Dinner hosted by The Youth Company in honor of their two-year anniversary.
First kicked off in March 2012, Kiva Arab Youth has allowed over 50,000 individuals to collectively lend more than $2.3 million to over 2,000 young Arab entrepreneurs. The campaign enables visitors to go on www.kivaarabyouth.org to make online loans of as little as $25 to entrepreneurs of their choice. The Web portal includes young people from Palestine, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, and Yemen, with more countries coming on to the platform soon. To double the impact, Silatech is matching loans made by individual Kiva lenders to motivate more people to lend, increasing the number of young businesses which can benefit and grow.
According to Mohamed Farid, Founder and Chairman of The Youth Company, “Silatech has proven itself in being a key player in youth empowerment and development in the last few years. Kiva Arab Youth is an excellent project, and it is no wonder it was selected by young people as the Best Youth Program of 2012.”
Justin Sykes, Director of Microenterprise, and Raghda El-Meligy, Microenterprise Outreach Consultant, accepted the award on behalf of Silatech. According to Justin Sykes, “Online lending channels like Kiva Arab Youth provide a transparent, direct way for people to get a greater social benefit out of their charitable giving. By giving young entrepreneurs a helping hand instead of a handout, more sustainable impact is achieved for both lenders and borrowers. We are seeing growing interest and investment in Kiva Arab Youth not only from Qataris, but across the Gulf and broader MENA region.”
While more than 930,000 individuals in 60 countries have benefited from over $385 million in Kiva microloans, less than 5% of these funds go to entrepreneurs in the Arab world, and less 1% of lenders come from the Arab world. Silatech and Kiva are changing this through Kiva Arab Youth, which aims to drive investment from and to the Arab World, in the process helping to fund thousands of young Arab entrepreneurs. The Kiva Arab Youth Facebook page (www.facebook.com/KivaArabYouth) has mobilized thousands of followers from the region in a matter of months.
Silatech and Kiva plan to launch a fully Arabized peer-to-peer online lending platform in 2013, and are currently identifying additional local and regional microfinance partners that can join Kiva’s network and expand the range of opportunities available to youth in the Arab world.
While Kiva Arab Youth was recognized as “Best Youth Program of the Year,” other awards went to Sheikha Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani (Youth Personality of the Year), Qatar Airways (Best Youth Qatarization and Sponsorship Program), Commercial Bank of Qatar (Youth Bank of the Year), and ictQatar (Most Youth-Oriented Governmental Organization).