Friday, November 04, 2005

Kiva: Forget Teach a Man to Fish — Loan Him Money For a Fishing Net

If you don't know about microcredit, you should.

After the Bangladesh famine of 1974, a group called Grameen Bank developed the microcredit model. Microcredit is the practice of granting small, business-enabling loans to people so poor that they would not qualify for conventional credit.

The Economic and Social Council of the United Nations proclaimed the year 2005 as the International Year of Microcredit, and the good news is that you can help this incredible movement — personally.

A friend of mine, Matt Flannery, has started Kiva, where you can personally loan money to individuals in the developing world who are bootstrapping their way out of poverty.

Currently, Kiva allows an individual to loan to another individual in Uganda. The terms of the loan (which can be as small as $25) are such that you are paid back in a 6 or 12 month term. You also get monthly updates about payment info and blog like updates containing business info. To date, Kiva has started 7 businesses in Uganda, including a fish mongerer, some butcher shops, and a clothes reseller.

Signing up with Kiva is easy, so get started today.

Comedian Greg Giraldo's act has a bit that goes something like this:

People say you shouldn't give homeless people money because they're just going to spend it on drugs or booze.

Well, that's actually what I was planning on spending it on, so what's the difference?
Kiva presents an opportunity to break out of that dilemma in a way that promotes lasting, global change for a pretty small amount of money.

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