Thursday, December 2, 2010
Season of Giving: Kiva
In the month of December, I'm going to feature various groups that help those in need (that means I'm posting twice a day!!). I'm not doing fundraising for them- just bringing attention to groups that I think do important work or may need help. Perhaps you will feel the urge to connect to that group or find something similar in your area that you can volunteer your time and talents. Perhaps you will want to make a donation. Perhaps you will just feel warm and fuzzy knowing that good is being done in the world. See all posts for the Season of Giving *~*~*~*~*~ Kiva I'm not Oprah, that's for certain. And I hadn't paid any attention to her lists of favorite things since the audiences started going all insane and the giveaways kept getting more and more over the top. But I hear she highlighted Kiva as a Favorite Thing this year- and I couldn't agree more. I first heard about Kiva a few years ago and spent hours pouring over the stories of the people who have been positively impacted by this microloan program. More accurately, Kiva connects lenders to loan applicants through existing microloan companies and programs. From the website: Kiva's mission is to connect people, through lending, for the sake of alleviating poverty. Kiva empowers individuals to lend to an entrepreneur across the globe. By combining microfinance with the internet, Kiva is creating a global community of people connected through lending. Kiva was born of the following beliefs: •People are by nature generous, and will help others if given the opportunity to do so in a transparent, accountable way. •The poor are highly motivated and can be very successful when given an opportunity. •By connecting people we can create relationships beyond financial transactions, and build a global community expressing support and encouragement of one another. Kiva promotes: •Dignity: Kiva encourages partnership relationships as opposed to benefactor relationships. Partnership relationships are characterized by mutual dignity and respect. •Accountability: Loans encourage more accountability than donations where repayment is not expected. •Transparency: The Kiva website is an open platform where communication can flow freely around the world. Some of the loans are combined to help out a group of people or help a larger project. Some of the loan requests are smaller- an individual who needs seed money to buy materials to build their weaving business. You can loan to Glicerio- a farmer who used to work as a hired hand but saved enough to buy a small amount of land and plant his own bananas and coffee in Peru. Or maybe loan to a group of women in Sierra Leone who are seeking to grow their cereal business. Or maybe loan to Hugo- seeking to build and strengthen his bakery business in Peru. $25 to me is frivolous spending at the grocery store. $25 to this loan program is helping to fund someone's roof or helping someone start their own business or helping someone educate their children. Kiva is powerful, in my eyes, because it takes small donations from many and turns those small donations into a large impact. There is a lot of information to read if you should decide to make a loan of $25. Kiva shares information with you about the risks. When your loan is repaid, you can donate the money back to Kiva, you can finance a new loan, or you can transfer the funds to PayPal. There is a lot of information given on the website so read up and think about participating! Hey- if Oprah says it's a Favorite Thing, it must be awesome, right?