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One of the greatest disservices you can do a man is to lend him money that he can't pay back - Jesse Holman Jones

>> 26 November 2007

Well, here's an occasion, where someone you lend money to CAN pay you back.

Kiva lets you connect with and loan money to unique small businesses in the developing world. By choosing a business on Kiva.org (this is the Kiva blog), 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.

The founders were recently featured on the Oprah show, NBC's Today Show and in Bill Clinton's book Giving. Apparently the effect of this promotion was so overwhelming that all open loans were covered within a few days. So they really don't need me to make them known...
But then again, when I first heard about this idea I thought it just wonderful. It is in line with Bangladeshi economist Muhammad Yunus and the Grameen Bank he created who won the Nobel Peace Prize last year. Microcredits are such a simple idea that I wonder why it took so long to grow.

I find stories about people helping people with small means and efforts much more inspiring than say the big Unicefs or the likes. Don't get me wrong, they need to exist too and Kiva too will probably grow to become a major help organisation one day. With the difference that here people are connected with people, get feedback on the help they provided and that just makes it all much more real. It's like really being there with the needy person and handing him the money and advice.

That is why, whenever I donate money, I tend to favour causes that are small, local, where I know someone or where I know where the money is going to.


La delirante 27 November 2007 at 11:36  

"I find stories about people helping people with small means and efforts much more inspiring than say the big Unicefs or the likes". Totally agree with you. I spent some months doing my social service with unicef in my country and that experience helped me to see so many things about the way they work that I was disgusted.

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