Oprah and Kiva.org

Yesterday Oprah showcased a most extraordinary non profit organization. It’s name is Kiva.org

This is a very interesting non-profit organization. It was started by a young couple by the names of Matt and Jessica Flannery. The idea for Kiva.org, came to them while working in East Africa.

Kiva says:

We let you loan to the working poor

Kiva lets you connect with and loan money to unique small businesses in the developing world. By choosing a business on Kiva.org, you can “sponsor a business” and help the world’s working poor make great strides towards economic independence. Throughout the course of the loan (usually 6-12 months), you can receive email journal updates from the business you’ve sponsored. As loans are repaid, you get your loan money back.

The concept behind Kiva is that they are a liaison between struggling businesses and potential lenders. Lenders can loan as little as $25.00, or loan as much as the business owner is “asking for”.

Or as in Kiva’s words:

Kiva.org allows individuals to make $25 loans to low-income entrepreneurs in the developing world (microfinance). By doing so, individuals like you provide affordable working capital for the poor (money to buy a sewing machine, livestock, etc.), empowering them to earn their way out of poverty.

It’s a new, direct and sustainable way to fight global poverty…..

I find this to be a most interesting concept. Granted, it could be risky, as is any time you loan money. But, if a small loan could enable a person to start, or grow their business, how rewarding it would be to see them succeed.

I spent a considerable amount of time on the Kiva.org website. They have a great “Frequently Asked Questions” section, plus examples of people who have been helped thus far.

I think this is an awesome way to help others. The dollars you lend, don’t just feed one or two people. Your dollars contribute to a family’s future, therefore taking the burden off of the local economy.

If you’re looking for a way to show support and help to fight global poverty, this is a great site to check out.

Remember, contributing to this non profit is not a tax write off. You are “loaning money”, not donating money. When the business you contribute to succeeds, you get your money back.

As always, read the fine print, and be an informed “consumer”.

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3 Responses to Oprah and Kiva.org

  1. Asako says:

    Microfinance is a big trend in the development effort these days. In my neighborhood, there’s another company called Unitus, which is very successful, although they are offline. For the bottom of the pyramid living with less than $1 per day (which is about 1 billion population), $25 loan is a huge start-up capital. I agree Kiva.org is particularly interesting, because you can directly interact with the entrepreneur instead of going through faceless non-profit organizations.

  2. John Hunter says:

    I agree – Kiva is wonderful. It really seems to provide great benefit. And they do a great job of using psychology to encourage donations and loans – which is a good thing.

    John Hunter’s last blog post..Capitalism in China

  3. Barbara says:

    Hi John,

    Thanks for stopping by. Yes, Kiva does good work, and is a great source for anyone who wants to help others.

    Barbara’s last blog post..How To Patent An Invention

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