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Friday, October 13, 2006

muhammad yunus wins nobel peace prize!

Long-time readers of It Seems to Me... (both of you) know I'm a big advocate of microlending. So I'm very pleased to see that the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to microlending pioneer Muhammad Yunus. Yunus started the Grameen Bank in the 1970s, after trying unsuccessfully to obtain bank loans on behalf of impoverished entrepreneurs in his home country of Bangladesh. Other organizations, such as FINCA and Opportunity International, have joined the efforts in what has become a global phenomenon. Newcomer Kiva has taken microlending a step further, allowing individuals to loan directly to developing world entrepreneurs. If you're not familiar with microlending, check it out. It's an easy way to make a significant, lasting difference in someone's life.

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Sunday, March 19, 2006

microlending update

Steve Odongo's Gracious God Butchery received a loan of $500 in early February. Since then, Odongo has been able to expand his business. Before the loan he was able to buy three animals each time he went to the village market. Now he can buy five. He has already begun repaid $30 of the original loan.

In the United States, where even $500 does not go very far, it can be hard to imagine what a difference a small loan can make to people living in poverty on the other side of the world. If you'd like to make a difference in someone's life, check out Kiva's Businesses in Need page.


Thursday, January 19, 2006

adventures in microlending

Steve Odongo is a butcher in Tororo, Uganda. He's got a good business going, buying animals from the rural markets and slaughtering them. His Gracious God Butchery is poised for growth, but capital is hard to come by in Uganda. Enter Kiva.

I've written before about microlending. What makes Kiva unique among microlenders is that they allow individuals to lend directly to entrepreneurs in developing countries.

So, I've joined with a few other people to loan Steve Odongo $500 to expand his business. He will receive the money the first of next month, and will pay it back as he is able over the next 6 to 12 months.

If you're interested in making a loan, please bookmark Kiva's website. They are currently enjoying a surplus of lenders, but they are signing up new entrepreneurs every few weeks. For as little as $25, you can help lift someone out of poverty. And it's a gift that keeps giving, because after the loan is paid back, you can lend the money to another entrepreneur. There's no limit to the number of people who can be helped with the same money.

I've said it before, but it's worth repeating: Micolending won't solve all the world's problems, but it is probably the best tool yet invented for overcoming extreme poverty.