Anyone heard of Kiva Microfinance? If you haven’t, I urge you to take a look.
Kiva allow individuals like you or me to loan small amounts to entrepreneurs in developing countries, which really make an enormous difference to their lives. Loans are made in multiples of $25. Let’s be honest, most of us can afford just $25. You choose an entrepreneur of your choice, make your loan via Paypal and that’s how easy it is to give someone a tool with which to make a difference. My loans have been paid back in full on time, and I’ve gone on to relend the money. If you wish though, you’re able to pay the money back into your Paypal account at this point and walk away. I bet not many people do though, it’s far too much fun to choose someone else seeking a loan and start again
Kiva gift vouchers would make a really nice present, along the lines of buying share in a cow or similar, but with an element of choice for the recipient as they can choose who to lend to and keep relending it they’d like.
You can view the individuals and groups seeking loans under various different categories. My preference, keeping things close to home, is the agriculture section. Checking exactly what people want the money for is interesting reading. Almost all the plant crop farmers include fertilizers in the list of things they’re hoping to buy. It’s easy to say one should grow organically from the relative comfort of here, but I don’t really want to finance chemical fertilizers so I tend towards the animal keepers.
My latest loan is to a chap who keeps pigs. It seems very apt as it’s something we seem to discuss every other day ourselves!
I’ve just set up a lending team for Casalinho e Escabelado. Do join it if you lend through Kiva. It would be cool to see how much we can loan collectively.