i’m the last to know…

So if you’re like the rest of the world, you probably have already heard about KIVA. If you’re anything like me, however, you may have heard the word “micro-finance” and thought for sure this was something you had no interest/ability in. After all, “finance” and words associated with it are for people with money. Right?

Turns out, it has nothing to do with investing to make a financial profit.

Also turns out, it’s not that difficult to understand.

Also turns out, I really like it…and I think although God has called us to GIVE our money to the poor, this could be a lazy man’s (most of us) first easy step in the right direction. Plus there’s the whole “teach a man to fish” metaphor…etc.

There are A LOT of people in very poor areas of the world who have dreams of doing something more. But most of the time, it takes a little money to begin some sort of business venture. Money they don’t have, but that they would probably make once they’ve started.

Unfortunately, banks make the same amount of money off a $10,000 loan as they do off 10 $1,000 loans. But they have more fees/labor involved in 10 loans…so they’d rather focus on the larger ones.

This is where companies like KIVA step in. They connect average people like us, who would be willing to loan (at no interest) a specific amount (even just $25!), with people who need a small amount to start a business of their own. Most money is returned within 10 months, and usually you’re able to hear the story of what’s happened.

Of course, Kiva does end up charging a small percentage themselves, in order to continue running as an organization. But compared to the over 80% interest the local lenders in most of these places charge (and intentions with them)…it’s a great option.

Don’t have $25 or more to start lending now? Go in on it with a group!! A small group, class, Sunday School class, church, family group, or whatever! Pool some money together, and change someone’s life NOW! When you’re repaid, you can take your money back and run, or loan it out all over again!!

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Yeah I read this in < HREF="http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune_archive/2008/03/03/103796533/index.htm?postversion=2008022611" REL="nofollow">Fortune<> magazine awhile back. I’ve done Prosper before, and after reading the article I sent out the email to the teachers in our family advertising the help available from DonorsChoose.org, which I thought was an even better idea, although I’m not sure how well it works in reality.

    Reply

  2. We are doing a 30 Hour Famine type event on June 6-7 and we are taking half of the money, letting kids do some research about where they should invest it, then lending via Kiva. Then next year when we do it again and the previous loans have been paid back the old money AND the new money will be invested. My wife and I also have made Kiva part of our monthly budget!I love it because it give entrepreneurs in the Third World a way to help others too simply by paying back and trusting that I will reinvest.

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