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Micro-lending around the world

~ ~ Many years ago the idea of making small loans was an idea I knew was not only useful but possible for an individual. The challenge was to contact sincere borrowers, design a loan agreement and arrange for repayment. At that time, an amount less than $100 would have allowed someone to begin a business in many places. One thing I thought most important was the type of business. There were already organizations that formed co-operatives to produce products for export (mostly to the US). But that system bothered me for various reasons, some of which are listed below:
  • exporting costs reduced profits
  • people were more employees than entrepreneurs
  • products were more decorative than useful
  • products were not needed/used locally
  • a self-sustaining local economy was not created
  • charity was often the central focus
  • products were not organic designs
  • there were many unintended consequences
~ ~ In contrast, I wanted to lend to those already working as individuals and families to meet the needs of their neighbors and communities. Those skilled and experienced in agriculture, construction, clothing, education, transportation, tools, equipment, infra-structure, health care, repairing, manufacturing, etc. were the ones of interest to me.
~ ~ For example, someone making stools that locals used would be a proven and likely export item. Stool designs would have developed organically, according to the needs of the locals using them in their daily lives. They would not be just curious or quaint but useful and functional. Quality control could be left to the marketplace.
~ ~ Another example is the hat worn by people in Ecuador and the hat worn in Panama. Both hats developed over many years. As their quality and design became better known and appreciated, an export market naturally developed.
~ ~ My role was to be a lender and/or silent business partner. In any case I would have a reason to follow the borrower's success and enjoy it with them. As a lender I would regain my investment. As a partner, I would have an ownership interest and an ongoing reason to visit. The financial lure was small but the joy and travel lures were fantastic. What could be better than a network of business relationships that one needed to visit?
~ ~ Well, that was then and now is now. Today, Kiva allows me to realize my dream of supporting entrepreneurs around the world. The monetary amount needed to be helpful has increased but now there are others lending to the same entrepreneur and together we meet the need. Now it is strictly a small lender role so business trips would not be necessary. That loss is offset by the opportunity to share funding a loan with other lenders having a common interest. Kiva is a great way to be a lender and meet people with earnest dreams as well as those joining together in financial support of those dreams.
~ ~ $25 loans from many individuals creates a network and funds each loan. Should the entrepreneur financially fail, the limited loss is assumed by all the lenders. Each lender usually participates in multiple loans rather than just one. The Kiva system promotes social as well as financial relationships. This in turns builds the hope and goodwill that encourages each entrepreneur to be most diligent and succeed.
~ ~ Being a part of Kiva as an individual or as a member of one or more Kiva Teams gives one the opportunity to make our world a better world for all. It is an opportunity to make a real-time investment that you can follow for the term of the loan. Transparency is build in. Online reports lets the lender see the entrepreneur's progress. A really great aspect is that children can lend and learn, too.
~ ~ While the activity of Kiva is called Micro-Lending it has a Macro-Effect in the lives individuals, families, communities and the world. I am very happy to be part of Kiva and have 2 Teams to share. You are welcome visit my Kiva page, follow me on twitter @fetterless and read this sometimes blog. Please leave a comment, join my WeLoveYou! Kiva Team, invite a friend, whatever - I would love to know you. Happy lending!

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