Monday, December 12, 2005

Kiva - Investing In Human Lives

Today I gave my Pay Pal account a little exercise and invested in the businesses of two Tanzanian women. Via Kiva, I became a microlender. A provider of microcredit.(And no, this is not run by Microsoft!)

I'm sure many of you have heard of the work of places like the Grameen bank, which has been the leader in microlending. But it is hard for a place like Grameen to broker tiny loans from average Jane's like me. Well, make that an average Nancy. So this is where Kiva comes in.
"Kiva provides a new, sponsor a business option for individuals to connect with small enterprises in developing countries through flexible loans. "
Now THIS is what Web2.0 could be about. Simple. Rich with human connection. If everything goes according to plan, my investment will return to my PayPal account in the agreed upon time. Of course I risk losing it, but so far Kiva has had 100% payback. It's still early in the experiment, but microlending has a good rep - something like 97% repayment.

When my capital comes back, I can take it out, reinvest in another person, or donate the money to Kiva.

Simple. Direct. And this is a co-venture. There is something in it for each player. It is not me deciding how best to help someone else. It is me lending them something I have available and them using to do what they do best and know best.

I like it!

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