"A Man's a Man for all that!" - Rabbie Burns
Nov 21, 2010
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.