Friday, December 21, 2007

Kiva helps you help those who help themselves

Andrew Leonard lent $25 to Mawulé Agbeka. This week, she paid him back.

Why should any of that matter to you or me? Because Leonard lent Agbeka the money through, an online site that allows individuals like you and me to connect with entreprenurs in countries around the world and if we choose, to make them a micro-loan - to be repaid, without interest - to help them achieve their entrepreneurial goals.

These are tiny loans - currently limited to just $25 per lender - that can literally transform the life of someone in poverty.

When Leonard initally wrote about making the loan to Agbeka in a thoughtful post about Kiva last year, he noted that
I am routinely astonished by the world as it emerges before me, but wrapping my brain around do-it-yourself microfinance has been one of those moments where I feel the earth move under my feet. It is a concrete manifestation of how the Internet is redrawing the world's lines of communication.

Kiva is proving so successful and so personalizes the act of helping someone help themselves that it is almost irresistible not to donate. I haven't yet chosen a borrower, given the distractions of the holiday season, but it is high on my to-do list in the New Year. I'll let you know how it goes.



Anonymous extremeenglish said...

i have contributed to FINCA international for several years. it's a similar village banking/microlending organization.

also, oxfam unwrapped has great gifts you can send in the name of those who have enough of absolutely everything. last year, i sent a sheep to a poor family somewhere in the name of all my coworkers in lieu of the usual little xmas gifts we exchange. (like they NEED one more freakin' scented candle!!??) our secretary (who is from nigeria) practically rolled on the floor laughing. she said, "they'll EAT IT!!" never thought of that.... the secretary assured us an animal like that would provide a nice feast for a couple of days. why not? not our bidness wot they do with it. bon appetit!!

2:34 p.m.  

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