Surely nothing can stabilize life more than grassroots economic empowerment. Take the economic leverage out of the hands of dictators and put it in the hands of the people. Then see what real, honest democracy looks like.
Simply put, Kiva ... works. Those seeking loans apply and submit their stories. Local orgs coordinate with larger orgs to complete the loan process and fund the recipients. They sign repayment guarantees on their honor in front of their families and communities.
As a lender, you don't earn interest on these loans, but you have the tremendous satisfaction of knowing you've directly and vitally changed people's lives for the better. As a person of faith and follower of the Golden Rule, that's all the interest I need.
And I've had great success with Kiva! Since 2008, my Foundation and I have made twenty-one loans to small groups and individuals. Most of the loans I've chosen to fund are to women, or groups headed by women, and in countries and regions where women are typically oppressed or whose voices are not heard. I believe that when we empower women in this way, we make the world a kinder and better place.
As of today, every cent I loaned has been repaid. To me, this is remarkable -- think of the default rate in most lending situations. The result is that I currently have funds sitting in my Kiva account, waiting to be re-invested. I'd like you to help me choose where to allocate it.
- Visit kiva.org/lend and look at the current loan requests. These are heart-rending stories of real people who want to get ahead in life.
- Leave the name of the person or group who most appeals to you as a comment on this blog. Include a blurb about why it appeals to you, if you like.
- I'll pick the top three and make the investment on your behalf with my dollars.
- If you are as inspired as I am by the whole process, you may become a Kiva lender yourself. It just takes a few minutes to sign up, and you can loan as little as $25.