In one of my sociology classes today, we talked about a Web site called Kiva, which facilitates microlending interest free loans from levels as low as a single person to a single person.
My roommate had already heard of the idea of microlending, but it was a totally new concept to me. The “Today” show picked up on it in this online video.
Basically, I can go online and read about a woman who needs money for materials to start a clothing business, for example. I can donate any amount $25 and up to help her get started. People from Kiva check out all the people who need lending and have less than a 2 percent default rate.
I checked out the site upon returning from campus, and it turns out that a lot of Guatemalans have prospered from the site–most of them women. There’s a field partner group called Friendship Bridge, which aims to prevent the cycle of poverty.
Kiva seems like a great example of social entrepreneurship, rather than simply an NGO. The Web site is done by volunteer work (often through other organizations) and donations.
I can think of a lot of people I saw in Guatemala who would love $50 to start a business endeavor or to fertilize land.