The other day I came across a great little article counting down the top 20 “smartest orgs online“. Fascinating it was too to see how not for profit organisations are making use of the web. Top of the shop was Kiva – who let you connect with and loan money to small businesses in the developing world and help the world’s working poor make great strides towards economic independence.
You can lend to someone in the developing world who needs a loan for their business – like raising goats, selling vegetables at market or making bricks. Each loan has a picture of the entrepreneur, a description of their business and how they plan to use the loan so you know exactly how your money is being spent – and you get updates letting you know how the business is going.
The best part is, when the entrepreneur pays back their loan you get your money back which you can re-pump back into another business. Kiva’s loans are managed by microfinance institutions on the ground who have a lot of experience doing this, so you can trust that your money is being handled responsibly.
I just made a loan to an entrepreneur named Halima Mwitu in Tanzania. Halima still needs another $425 to complete her loan request of $550.00 so that she can add charcoal cookers to the charcoal that she already sells in order to pay for her children’s education… and with the loans required relatively low for us in the West and also the strength of the pound against the dollar at present, my few quid can go a very long way.
I don’t normally make much mention of where I give. I’d much rather that part of my faith stayed very quiet. However, I think people need to know about services like Kiva which is why I am writing this article now. I’m helping them build a sustainable business that will provide income to feed, clothe, house and educate their family long after my loan is paid back. It’s web 2.0 at its best – I’d encourage you to get involved.