kiva – micro-lending changes lives

05May07

A few years ago I had the pleasure of working on a project for the ILO, the International Labour Organisation (www.ilo.org). They are part of the UN and issues such as people trafficking, slavery, bonded labour, the sex trade and other daunting work related topics fall under their remit.

It’s challenging yet important work and I admire anyone who can face the politics, bureaucracy and harrowing stories the job confronts ILO employees with every working day.

One of the things that was discussed back in 2001/2002 was the development of NGO’s that seed small levels of loan funding to individuals in deprived, abused or poverty striven circumstance. A more recent development has been the launch of Kiva.

www.kiva.org

Kiva identify individuals in Africa, Asia and South America who require a small loan in order to secure their home, livelihood and future. Unlike charitable donations, where you give and often here nothing back, with Kiva you select who you would like to help from a regularly updated list of people in need around the world. You then make a small contribution to the amount the individual needs for a loan and you see who else is supporting the person in the social and micro-lending network. The person who receives your money agrees to pay the funds back to their panel of lenders and supporters over a set term.

This is a method of incentivising people less fortunate and unable to secure a loan through any other method without making them dependent on charity.

Take a look for yourself and see what difference you can make to someone’s life with a loan of US$25 or more.

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