A few months back, a friend directed my attention to an organisation called Kiva. The Kiva people describe themselves this way:
“We are a non-profit organization with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. Leveraging the internet and a worldwide network of microfinance institutions, Kiva lets individuals lend as little as $25 to help create opportunity around the world.”
I read up on Kiva, and decided to make a loan of $25. You choose the person your money is lent to – whether a baker in Afghanistan, a goat herder in Uganda, a farmer in Peru, a restaurateur in Cambodia, or a tailor in Iraq, etc. – and as they repay their loan, you get your money back (or you can re-invest it). It’s an effective way to empower someone to lift themselves out of poverty. I chose Mbeneka Muthoka, who runs a food stall in a market in Kenya.
I have been most impressed with the way Kiva operates. They seem to be very well organised and accountable. I have since made another loan of $25, this time to a man called Oktay who runs a small food shop in Azerbaijan. I’ve decided to make an additional loan every time I do a Bobby Dazzler trip.
I commend Kiva to you. If you’d like to find out more, just click on Kiva.