I just heard about Kiva twice separately from two of my more enlightened friends during the past month, Ben and Kirk.
Kiva is social entrepreneurship in action.
Kiva is a way that you can give $25 to the humblest of entrepreneurs for whom that $25 will fundamentally change their world. You can fundamentally give a specific person the resources he or she needs to climb out of poverty.
If the entrepreneur needs more than you are giving, then your funds join others' as the total amount requested is funded. Micro-lending meets micro-syndication.
For example, you can provide funding for a specific poor villager to buy a crate of live chickens. Then she can sell (and eat) eggs and make more chickens — all with the help of her new chickens, courtesy of your generosity.
(The photo above is of Norita Tapullima de Vasquez, a poultry entrepreneur in Peru. She's a typical entrepreneur on Kiva, if there is such a thing as "typical.")
But, wait, you don't give it. You loan it.
You're thinking, "Sure, sure, I've heard that one before. Little loans to poor people aren't loans. They're gifts."
Oh, ye, of little faith. Remember those chickens? The poultry entrepreneur repays your loan in installments on a schedule. The repayment rates are darn near 100%.
Non-governmental organizations in the field watch over the progress of the entrepreneurs and the repayment of your money. And, really, nearly all the repayment rates are 100%. (Here is how Kiva works.)
Kirk says he loaned $100 for four micro-loans. "All of them have been repaid," Kirk told me this week. "Without interest, but fully repaid on time." Kirk encourages people to give their own kids $100 and send them to Kiva to become global micro-philanthropists.
More On Kiva
Their basic description starts:
Kiva's mission is to connect people through lending for the sake of alleviating poverty.
Kiva is the world's first person-to-person micro-lending website,
empowering individuals to lend directly to unique entrepreneurs in the
And so on.
Why not just go to Kiva and plug in $25?
Here it is.
If you don't have $25, how's this: whatever I receive from donations to my tip jar (see "Send Money/Feed A Blogger" in the sidebar on the left) during this week, I'll transfer to Kiva. (And I'll report on the recipient, our Net Cotton Content/Kiva Entrepreneur.)
I'll In a life where we so often wonder if we are truly accomplishing any thing Good, here is a way.
And generosity is a core component of living a more creative life. (Why? I'll write about that soon.)