About 12 months ago I discovered that, thanks to Kiva, I could make a direct difference to the life of one woman in Kenya: I lent her a small sum of money — it represented a couple of hours of my income. She wanted to expand the range of vegetables she sold in the local market. In perspective: Helping one person at a time:
Some of the appealing features of Kiva are that you make a loan, not a donation, to an actual individual to help them along in a business. You can lend part of the money they require, or the whole lot. It’s personal and practical and presumably effective.
The loan worked: she repaid it in regular instalments over 12 months. In fact, the loan report said this:
[name] business has been doing well since she got the loan. She has been able to employ an extra hand to help her supplying. Since she got the loan, she was able to purchase vegetables in bulk thus getting more customer’s he has also been able to rent a piece of land and she is growing kales to sell instead of buying. She really appreciates the loan by repaying it monthly
It gave me a great feeling: I was one small business lending money to another. So when the loan had been repaid in full a couple of weeks ago I started looking for another loan arrangement. I really liked the direct, and in-full nature of the loan. I didn’t want to just contribute towards a loan; I wanted to lend the full amount someone needed.
Today I found a woman in Sierra Leone who needed an amount less than I had in credit from the repaid amount and signed up to lend it to her. Then I topped off someone else’s loan with what I had left. Both women run food stalls in the market and need the loan to increase their inventory.
It feels good to make an actual difference to a real person. I can recommend it. And, by the way, the lender doesn’t receive any interest or other financial incentive for the loan. The good feeling and the knowledge that you’ve been able to make a difference are the reward.
Can you spare an hour’s pay? If you’d like to make a loan and change a life (as little as US$25 will get you involved) then click the banner above.
Update January 2011: I’ve removed the link to where I appear to quote myself. This blog has moved around over time and I can’t find the real source of the quote.