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Lend to the Poor

Today I want to tell you about an organization called Kiva.org

Kiva is basically a clearing house for everyday people to lend money to some of the world's poor.
It's run by some very smart people from companies like Google, IBM, etc. Poverty (and its conjoined twin- hunger) accounts for about 1 death every 5 seconds around the world. The lack of economic opportunity is directly tied to hunger in many parts of the world. There are MANY organizations in the world (some faith based and others not) who loan small amounts of money to people in third-world countries to help them start some sort of business.

I've been lending to several people around the world through Kiva and I've become a believer. Kiva has facilitated the lending of over $7 million and to date have had NO DEFAULTS!

Here's how it works.

1. A person is vetted heavily by Kiva and their partner organizations on the ground.
2. This worthy borrower shares their need.
3. You select a person to fund (as little as $25) and Kiva matches your loan with others until that person is fully funded.
4. The person uses their loan to start/improve their business and they pay it back over the course of time (usually about 12 months).
5. Once the loan is paid in full the loan amount is deposited back into your Kiva account where you can withdraw it or you can loan it back to someone else!

Kiva gets nothing out of your particular transaction... the full amount makes it to the borrower. You also get no financial gain out of the "loan", it's basically donating the money for a time until they pay it back.

If you care about world poverty but haven't found a practical way to participate, check out Kiva.org and give it a shot. You'll get to follow these people as they improve their lives and at the end of the day you'll certainly find yourself more aware of the plight of others outside the Western world.

Happy lending!

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Thursday, July 12, 2007

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