Status on WR3A Kiva "Fair Trade Recycling" Program

About ten months ago we announced a venture group between WR3A (World Reuse, Repair and Recycling Association) and the small loans DIY-SBA program.   The goal was to encourage small loans to small "Geeks of Color" businesspeople.

Just to update everyone, the loan to Rosa, the internet cafe woman in Peru, was fully funded and has been 56% repaid in less than ten months.  We just started a new loan with Leonard, a computer entrepreneur in Kenya, which has now been 100% lent to, and we expect will be fully repaid.  See below, or go to  KIVA LENDING TEAM WR3A RECYCLING (note: not all loans have been made through our console, but thousands have been raised, loaned, and repaid).

Loan in Kenya has been 100% funded

This is an update on your loan to Leonard in Kenya.
Thanks to you and 31 other Kiva Lenders, the $975.00 loan request in Kenya has been 100% funded.

This loan will be used for the purpose of: to purchase computer accessories

Over the 14 months of this loan, Kiva's Field Partner in Kenya, SMEP Deposit Taking Microfinance Limited, will be collecting repayments from this entrepreneur and posting progress updates on the Kiva website:
Thanks for lending to the world's working poor on Kiva!
Best Wishes,
Kiva Staff

For an entrepreneur like me, it seems much easier just to trade with Mr. Leonard and to discount his purchases in return for things he does, and in the bargain to create takeback and local recycling inside Kenya.   But since people want to make that illegal, the other option is to give him the money directly, not ask questions where he gets the computers and parts, not incentivize his recycling, and keep the whole thing underground.

Leonard Olaga
Computers, Kenya
0% repaid
Carmen Rosa Hurtado Gamboa
Paying Back
53% repaid
For me, open fair trade, getting good e-steward companies to stop shredding working equipment, is almost perfect (i.e. The Good).  The USA Recycling Stewards get more income, Leonard gets more choice of supplier, and the "sham" recycler who would take advantage of Mr. Leonard would lose their ability to ship "toxics along for the ride".

It is a very simple concept.  It has been presented to BAN, SVTC, Greenpeace, etc. gift wrapped for many years.   The NGOs apparent inability to grasp trade has defaulted to supporting one group as the "expert" on international trade.  That group constantly and regularly conflates the Basel Convention (which explicitly allows electronics trade under Annex IX, B1110) with the "Basel Ban Amendment", a much more draconian attempt to change the Basel Convention.

It falls to people like me, who studied at the UN in Geneva in college, and who managed RCRA enforcement at Massachusetts DEP, to correct Perfect's War on The Good.  Every day, I try to break up this unholy log-jam of conflicted interests...  NGOs too dependent on poster child fundraising, regulators too overburdened to read RCRA and Basel Convention Annex IX, shredding companies who have placed million dollar bets against reuse and repair, anti-reuse or planned obsolescence interests, and finally the dictators in Africa who want to put the internet genie back in the bottle.   Publish PostKenya, where Leonard is based, has banned the importation of used computers, following the examples of Egypt in 2008 and Uganda in 2009.   New legislation in Mexico calls ink cartridges "cadmium bearing" (sheesh) to stop the refilling businesses.  California taxes consumers to pay for destruction of tens of millions of dollars in equipment.

The official report on Ghana "e-waste" Imports is in.  15% bad, just as a close look at the photos would indicate.  Bath water 1, Baby 0.

"Screen burn" emits no smoke except thru mirrors
<- This is not the same as that \/.

What the second photo of children is, exactly, is not even clear.  It's purported to have something to do with e-waste.   I can see it h as something to do with poverty, and something to do with ethnicity.  But taking the man's job away at left does not improve the child's life below, and forcing the man at left to buy from the blackmarket, because you have created a false "Basel Convention" pretext for condemning reuse, now embraced by dictators opposed to free internet access.
Bathwater 1, Babies 0 "Where did Daddy's job go?"

Children with lead in their blood does not come from computer repair, refurbishing or upgrade.  Most often, it comes from lead mining or gold mining or silver or zinc refining.  The burning of wires which used to have lead in their casing is, of course, polluting, and I hestitate to go too far in defending recycling in its worst forms (even if it is better than the mining jobs in their best forms in developing nations).  But if the anti-export groups cannot come up with a better distinction than the race of the buyer, well I guess they need to make Kiva illegal next.

If you'd like to join our Kiva Fair Trade group, and make personal loans to "Geeks of Color" overseas, contact us through this website or search for WR3A at  You still have 2 days to make a loan before the end of the world.

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