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KIVA: Make a Loan, Change a Life

January 23rd, 2007 at 07:29 pm

Microlending is the process of giving small loans, typically under $200, to individuals typically rebuffed by large lending institutions.

Economist Dr. Muhammad Yunus and his Grameen Bank were awarded the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize for their (dare I say, revolutionary?) use of microcredit.

Even Oprah had him on her show to talk about microlending.

If microlending is good enough for a Nobel Peace Prize and Oprah Winfrey, then it's certainly good enough for me!

I find the whole microfinance idea appealing on so many levels, so I was really excited to find out there's an easy way for everyday people like you and I to participate though the non-profit Kiva.org.

To quote from the Kiva web page:

"Kiva lets you connect with and loan money to unique small businesses in the developing world. By choosing a business on Kiva.org, you can "sponsor a business" and help the world's working poor make great strides towards economic independence. Throughout the course of the loan (usually 6-12 months), you can receive email journal updates from the business you've sponsored. As loans are repaid, you get your loan money back."

Intrigued? Check it out yourself. You can loan as little as $25 (these are interest free loans). A lot of us have been very fortunate in our lives. It's nice to be able to lend a hand to someone else.



4 Responses to “KIVA: Make a Loan, Change a Life”

  1. Amber Says:

    Thanks for the post, i have heard of this a while go

  2. denisentexas Says:

    I like the concept but have to say I'm one who gives rather than loans. I just don't like the dynamics that loaning can bring about. Nice concept, though. Smile

  3. threebeansalad Says:

    Denise- I think there's a a place for both with benefit for both parties. What I like about this is that it allows me to INCREASE my "giving"-- I can make my typical donations, and still loan through KIVA (I should note these are interest free loans) because I will most likely get the KIVA money back. In addition, part of Dr. Muhammad Yunus' work indicated that entrepeneurs he was working with had more success when they were loaned the $$ rather than given it flat out.

  4. LdyFaile Says:

    I plan on donating as soon as I get my tax return. I figure I'll donate 10% (to the nearest $25) of each year's tax return and as the loans get paid off just relend it.

    Couple things though, while as contributors to KIVA we don't earn interest on the loans, the people who get them do. KIVA just acts as a middle man to get the funding and the interest on the loans is paid to KIVA and the connection point in the country. KIVA is the first organization that PayPal doesn't charge any fees for transactions. That's pretty cool.

    There's also a local (as in focuses on people in the US) company that perhaps does more what Denise is looking for. It's called Modest Needs (www.modestneeds.org) and they give grants to people who need a one time push to keep from going under. It's structured a little different but similar concept.

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