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For the past several years, I’ve been a big fan of a website called Kiva.org. Kiva is an organization that connects everyday folks like you and me with entrepreneurs in the Majority World who need some cash for their businesses.” But, Kiva does not donate money; they loan it. As you might expect, the money gets paid back and then you can just loan it out again (of course, there is some loss that goes towards administrative costs at Kiva and their partner microfinance institutions).
I love Kiva because it empowers people who are facing ENORMOUS challenges. Too often in the Majority World, financial institutions do not serve the needs of these entrepreneurs. The loans are too small and significant collateral may not be available. Access is also limited. But Kiva actually partners up with micro-finance institutions in the countries where they serve and provides the capital these institutions need to make micro-loans. Kiva is extremely transparent too. You can view all kinds of stats on these partner organizations and Kiva provides a ranking system that keeps us aware of how they are doing. This is no willy-nilly money exchange.
Thousands of people have received Kiva loans so far. These loans are usually in the range of $500 to $3000. Once you sign up on Kiva, you can browse through hundreds of borrowers and view more information about them personally and about how they plan to spend this loan.
So, at this point, I KNOW you’re just dying to join Kiva and get in on all the fun… well, I got GOOD NEWS:
Just click on the link above and setup your account.. and BOOM! You just got yourself $25 to give towards any loan you’d like.
Wanna know more about how all of this microfinance stuff works? Of course you do! I would recommend you read through this great series of articles at HowStuffWorks.com: