KIVA .What do they do? Well, have you heard of micro-loans, micro-finance? You know, a bank or a group gives a small loan to someone, usually in a developing nation, so she or he can start a business, become self-sufficient, and get out of poverty? That’s the basic mission of this group. And it’s an important one. Microfinance is vital in a lot of places where getting even a small loan is impossible if you’re impoverished. Poor people end up in a Catch 22: can’t make money without a loan, can’t get a loan without money.
Enter microlending and groups like Kiva. With Kiva, you get to be the bank. You pick an entrepreneur you want to help- see their pictures, read their stories, and see how much they want to borrow and specifically what they intend to do with that loan. Kiva has a fairly simply interface to make the selection process rather easy.
To me, Kiva represents the “drop in the bucket” concept pretty succinctly: one person helping one person by do one thing. And when you multiply it times — who knows how many- what a huge difference that can make.
So, this got me thinking that this concept of microfinance is worth a few more links. I looked up some other stuff that may be of further interest to readers. The first is the page for Grameen Finance run by Muhammad Yunus the Bangladeshi man who won a Nobel Prize for his micro-loan work. The second is a page for the group ACCION, which is another micro-finance group , started in Brazil, but with an office right here in Massachusetts and branches all over the world. Check them as you like.
Kiva also got me thinking about the concept of entrepreneurship, about inititative and determination – people pursuing goals, dreams and ambitions. I suddenly realized a lot of people I know who are doing things like this: running small businesses or trying to start them, working on creative projects while they have day jobs– pursuing dreams. You impress me. (Well, some of you do at least…heh.)
Bottom line, check out kiva.
Thanks for reading.