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Making a difference - Peter Hentges

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October 8th, 2007


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11:20 am - Making a difference
You may have heard of microlending, the process of private people making small loans to individuals in developing countries. Its been so in-the-news lately that the people at Kiva.org have put a limit on the amount that you can loan budding entrepreneurs. Each person is limited to donating $25 to one of the individuals Kiva has identified has needing assistance.

I think this is great news. Putting a fixed limit on each loan means that dollars get spread around more and it also puts an amount of a loan in reach for more people. Seeing that a Mexican woman selling clothes needs $1000 to expand her inventory or a man with five cows in Azerbaijan wants $500 to expand his herd can seem a bit daunting. But watching the $25 increments add up day by day is a testament to the generosity of people.

I also think Kiva handles things in a cool manner. The money you give them gets routed directly to the recipients. They pass on 100% of the amount you give. You can make an additional donation (they suggest 10% of your donation) to help them pay the rent. When the loan given out is paid back, the money gets routed to "your" account so you can send it back out again! A single donation just keeps giving! They also post updates on the individual entrepreneurs so you can track how the people you're helping are doing.

Give them a look and help if you can.

(8 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


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From:pegkerr
Date:October 8th, 2007 06:39 pm (UTC)
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I just got an e-mail from Kiva this week that the entrepeneur I'd invested with has made her first $50 toward repayment.
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From:vgqn
Date:October 8th, 2007 07:00 pm (UTC)
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Thanks for reminding me of them. Though I just did a quick search on a few of my interests (vegetables, organic, farming) and was disappointed that nearly all of the farmers listed want to buy pesticides with the loans. I'll have to rethink where I'd want to place my money. How do you choose?
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From:jbru
Date:October 8th, 2007 07:32 pm (UTC)
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Yeah, I was disappointed by that as well. I would rather see money going to farmers that are working on more sustainable practices.

My decision process was based on region. I was looking to help people in Asia and from there was particularly interested in helping women that primary income providers for their families. I found a woman who was looking to raise money to preserve and sell vegetables in her local market. (I'd like it more if those vegetables were organic, but we'll start where we can.)
[User Picture]
From:vgqn
Date:October 8th, 2007 07:43 pm (UTC)
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Ah, she's a good possibility. And who knows, maybe the vegetables are organic.

Is there a way to give Kiva feedback on issues like this?
[User Picture]
From:jbru
Date:October 8th, 2007 08:17 pm (UTC)
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I don't see anything specific, but it looks like they have good information in their "About" page that could lead you to an email address or the like. The CEO has a blog at http://www.socialedge.org/blogs/kiva-chronicles that might provide other avenues as well.

Alternately: know anyone that wants to start up a similar operation aimed at organic and free-trade agriculture?
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From:haniaw
Date:October 9th, 2007 02:49 am (UTC)
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I joined when Peg posted about it before. I've been really enjoying watching my money get spread around.
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