Thursday, January 21, 2010

Kiva: Loans that Change Lives

Kiva is a micro-lending organization, unique because of its mission to connect lenders directly with entrepreneurs in developing countries.

This organization was the first of its kind. Kiva is affiliated with worldwide micro-financing groups which enables individuals to loan to qualified entrepreneurs across the globe.

Lenders can make contributions as little as $25 and will be repaid according to a preset timetable, which varies by case.

The person-to-person connection of Kiva starts with a photograph. While exploring the benefits of becoming a lender, you can scroll through a list of real people in developing countries, see their faces, hear their stories, understand their needs and fulfill them.

This is Koffi Hounlessodji, a 22 year-old trained in sheetmetal work in Tojo. He seeks a loan of $1,200 to purchase supplies so that he can make stoves and doors in greater quantities.

Similar stories are posted on Kiva every day and loans are distributed, giving these hard-working individuals a chance at success and a boost to the local economy.

William Easterly, economist and author of "The White Man's Burden," writes, "Acknowledging that development happens mainly through homegrown efforts would liberate the agencies of the West from utopian goals, freeing up development workers to concentrate on more modest, doable steps to make poor people's lives better."

Kiva is an organization making doable steps. Instead of handouts, this organization allows people to help themselves and make a drastic difference in their lives and communities.

The Poverty News Blog started a lending team for Kiva. The team writes, "We want those who read the blog to take action upon what they read."

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