KIVA: LOANS TO THE WORKING POOR

Pictured left is Florentina, from Mozambique, who runs a sewing business from a small tailor’s workshop. She is looking for a $1200 loan to help improve and expand her business and open a small sales boutique to sell fabrics.

I learned of Kiva from UGANDA: A Little Goes a Long Way a Frontline PBS feature on social entrepreneurs that was first aired in October. Kiva.org is a non-profit start up based in San Francisco, making loans that change lives. In 18 months, it has become the leading micro-credit site online. Kiva means “unity” in Swahili, and is a simple but effective idea in helping empower those less fortunate by using technology.
Kiva lets you connect with and loan money to unique small businesses in the developing world. By choosing a business on KIVA.ORG, you can “sponsor a business” and help the world’s working poor make great strides towards economic independence. Throughout the course of the loan (usually 6-12 months), you can receive email journal updates from the business you’ve sponsored. As loans are repaid, you get your loan money back.

At SOCIAL EDGE there is a collection of blogs, discussions and business models based on social engineering. Social Edge’s online events cover topics crucial to the success and growth of nonprofit organizations across the globe. Social Edge also hosts a library of articles written by experts in the field. These archived events and articles contain a trove of practical advice and recommendations for practitioners in the field of social entrepreneurship. Matt, the co-founder of Kiva has a blog on Social Edge at: KIVA CHRONICLES Moreover, empowering women is an essential part of the micro-finance story, and you don’t find anybody more vulnerable than poor women in these societies… Micro-finance isn’t a magic bullet. As readers know, I’m a big believer in medical interventions, such as fighting malaria and AIDS and maternal mortality. But it’s definitely a part of the solution.

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