Smarter than charity?

Kiva LogoI listened to a Christmas re-run of the CBC program “Search Engine” today, which included a story from earlier this year on KIVA, the microfinance loan organization. It is a structured, online peer-to-peer format for individuals to loan as little as $25 to an entrepeneur in the developing world. When the loan is re-paid, the user can re-loan it to someone else, or withdraw it.

This concept really struck a chord with me, as it is very clear how and where the money will be used, and that an actual individual, family, and community will benefit. My first loan today is to Amin Nasirov of Saatli town, Azerbaijan, to help him increase his flock of sheep in order to be better able to support his family. I’ll keep you posted.