As Kiva continues to grow in influence and the number of donations it generates (a quick look at the site suggests a new loan is being made very seven seconds) we take a look at the world’s first online lending platform connecting online lenders to entrepreneurs.
How many times have you looked at websites for NGOs that have a section for donations but not been able to donate? Or pass somebody on the street asking for money and you think, “I would love to help, but I just don’t have the money.”
Well, how about making a loan to someone? This way, you are only without the money for a certain amount of time, while allowing someone to set up a business.
What is micro-finance?
There are thousands of different micro-finance or micro-lending organizations all over the world. The way it works is that someone loans money, say $100, through an organization to a woman trying to set up a bakery. Other people lend their money too. The woman sets up her bakery with the money and little by little, in installments, pays the loan back.
Another great thing about micro-finance is that it often targets women, because studies have proven that by giving women the resources to bring in income, the money they earn goes toward education, food, and their children, whereas in many cases where men are in control of the earnings, money is spent on alcohol, cigarettes, and prostitutes. This is not always the case, of course, but the studies show that lending to women is more effective and that they will do better things with the money they earn.
What is Kiva?
Kiva is the largest and most widespread micro-finance organization in the world. Kiva makes it possible for any person, anywhere in the world, with a computer and a credit card, to make a loan to someone. Kiva is a worldwide network of micro-finance organizations, and helps give people from even the most remote areas the opportunity to make a living for themselves.
How to help
With Kiva the minimum amount you can lend is $25.00. Simply go on the website, look for which person or project you want to donate to, and then choose the amount. You can search by country or by type of project, and choose the person or group to whom you want to make the loan.
You can check on the progress of the loan and Kiva sends you an e-mail every time a part of your loan has been repaid. After the loan is paid back, you can either take the money back or use it to keep loaning. Moreover, Kiva has a 98.91 percent repayment rate, so you can feel comfortable making the loan.
What is your experience with kiva or any other micro-lending organization? Let us know in the comments below.