Public service announcement. Last spring I was introduced to Kiva.org by Bill Stevenson at Lenovo, the gentleman who manages the company’s social responsibility activities. Bill was passionate about Kiva — sort of the Napster of philanthropy and micro-finance. Here’s how it works. You go to Kiva.org, you open an account, you transfer $25 into your account, you review the loan applications from
hundreds dozens of people in emerging markets, select one, and loan them the money
They pay you back, via Kiva, and once the loan is done, you get the money back in your account and then you can re-loan it to another entrepreneur.
Here’s who my loan is supporting, Lily Kindeka Biyela. She borrowed $1,000. I lent her $25
“Lily is 44 years old and a mother of two children, and she takes care of three others. Lily began her business in 1992. Over the years, Lily has acquired solid experience selling both kitchen utensils and charcoal. Through her determination and hard work, she has been able to build a loyal customer base that has begun to pre-order utensils. Lily is asking for a loan of $1000 to help increase her working capital and buy additional goods. This will enable her to generate additional profits, which will allow her business to grow and change.”
Lily has paid back half of my loan already. I think this is cool and regard Kiva as one of the most important web applications I have ever seen.