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Friday, December 29, 2006

Win Your Own Nobel Peace Prize

posted by on December 29 at 16:58 PM


Okay, so you’re not Muhammad Yunus and you didn’t win the Nobel Peace Prize this year. You don’t have your own bank and you’re not willing to go to Malawi to make microfinance loans to a struggling tailor.

A few hundred dollars allows said tailor to buy her material at wholesale prices, thus making it possible to sell at lower prices and have higher profit margins. Basic economics, right? Right. But it’s not just dry theory; a small loan at the right time can make the difference between success and failure for a small business.

The problem is, not all of us can make the trip to the market in Mudada, Mozambique to evaluate the loan request of, say, Agostinha Mucombo, who needs $500 to purchase a refrigerator for her small shop. That’s where Kiva comes in.

This is from the group’s website:

“Kiva was born out of Matthew and Jessica Flannery’s combined professional interests, experiences, and expertise. In spring 2004, the couple spent several months working in rural Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda - Jessica as a staff member with Village Enterprise Fund (VEF), and Matthew as a filmmaker. They were struck by the success of hundreds of small businesses started by VEF, the incredible impact of those businesses on their communities, and the vitality and potential of those businesses’ entrepreneurs.”

So when they returned to the states, they started Kiva to facilitate individuals making small loans to vetted worldwide businesses who then pay them back on an agreed-upon schedule. So far Kiva has a loan repayment rate of 100%.

You can loan as little as 25 bucks to help that tailor in Mexico, or that grocery store owner in Azerbaijan, or that seller of soft drinks in Tanzania.

And why wouldn’t you? You’ve got 25 bucks, right? And you’ve got faith in humankind, right? Right? Of course you do.

So come on. Make a pre-New Year’s resolution. It’ll make you feel good.

RSS icon Comments


This is cool - thanks for posting!

Posted by plr in santabarbara | January 2, 2007 1:11 PM

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