I did something today that I’ve been meaning to do for a long time. I made a loan through Kiva. Until recently I had been making monthly donations to the MSF Australia and Greenpeace, however these were coming out of my New Zealand bank account without any funds coming in! So I finally stopped them. I will probably continue to donate to MSF from here. I do a lot of research before donating to any charity (which is why I hate the people who work on the street, on commission, whose sole mission is to sign you up there on the spot) and MSF gets a big tick from me.
I’m moving off-topic though. I first heard about Kiva at least a year ago. They are a not-for-profit that arranges microfinance for people and groups in developing countries. Anyone can lend any amount of money they like. Through the magic of the internet, Kiva matches up lenders with borrowers through local microfinance groups. It’s a fantastic idea and one that works really well. It’s been very popular with lenders as they can see where their money is going and really feel like they are doing something good. It’s also not charity or “aid” as such – these people want to fight their own way out of poverty, they have figured out how they need to do it, and they will work hard to pay back the money they borrow.
My loan was to the Ntinda Kafene Women’s group in Uganda. It was hard not to get carried away and lend to more borrowers! I think I will make it a regular thing, and then when my money is paid back I will of course re-lend it.