"A Man's a Man for all that!" - Rabbie Burns

"Religion? No thanks. I prefer not to outsource my brainwashing." - Bunc
Trying to get your average Joe creationist to understand the phrase scientific theory is as hard as getting a fish to enjoy mountaineering. Its an unimagined world for them - it requires a complete reversal of their normal modes of thinking and being. The fact that humans could explain the complexities of this world without a creating God is a world view they cannot grasp. It's like asking a tuna if it appreciates the view from the top of Mount Everest. Bunc

Nov 21, 2010

Loans to Third world Entrepreneurs

According to an old Chinese proverb "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime".  Like many proverbs it sums up an essential truth but perhaps doesn't tell the whole story. What if that man has learned to fish but can't afford to buy or build a fishing boat and fishing nets?

 This is the position of many people in the so called Third World. It's not that they always lack the skills or the willingness to improve their lives. Sometimes they simply lack the capital to develop a small business - either because they have no capital of their own or because the credit infrastucture that we all take for granted doesn't exist to the same extent in their countries.

A colleague of mine recently drew my attention to a site called KIVA which plugs this gap. Kiva acts as a sort of central clearing house for those who are interested in helping poorer people help themselves through loan giving.

The system works by allowing you to give small loans to individuals and groups who are looking for capital to expand small businesses or to invest in things that will improve their lives.  While there is a charitable element to the process because these loans are on an interest free basis the recipients are expected to repay the loans.

KIVA handle the whole process of managing and disbursing the loans and as a loan donor you get feedback on the difference your loans are making to the lives of people who are keen to work hard and improve their own lives.

KIVA looks like an excellent system and I am intending to start this Christmas by lodging a starting $25 and selecting someone to give my loan to.

For any readers looking for a way to make a positive impact on someones life this Christmas I would encourage you to check out the KIVA website and consider making a small loan through that site. You might just find that fisherman who needs your loan to help him buy the fishing net that will help him feed his family or community for a lifetime.


Marf said...

Already did.

Seeing as the atheist team already has the highest stats across the site, I decided to join the Flying Spaghetti Monster team and help them get to the top of the "religious congregations" category. They're currently number 2 behind the Kiva Baha'is.

I loaned $25 to a lady in Ecuador.

Looney said...

I have lots of choices for charity, but it sure did sound fun to buy a goat for some poor entrepreneur. Kiva being San Francisco based made them even more interesting. Still wondering about their finances ... 34 employees + advertising isn't cheap.

Marf said...

@ Looney: They do charge some interest to those who they loan money to. It's that interest along with donations that pay for their operating costs.

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