About four months ago I wrote a post about the website Kiva. Kiva is a microfinance website. Members can donate money to lower income people across the world in amounts of $25.00 or more. It is an opportunity for people that normally might not be able to, to obtain loans for their businesses or personal expenses.
Since I've joined up I've made eight loans. A couple of my original ones have been fully paid back (allowing me to make additional loans) and one is currently delinquent in making his repayments.
It is a great learning experience. After reading through many profiles looking for the right loan to make you obtain an understanding of the the lives others in the world live. One potential lender I looked at was trying to raise money to rebuild his business after it was destroyed in political unrest.
I finally found a loan that met my current personal preferences; an individual (not a group), 12 month or shorter repayment plan, from most countries. Thus far I've given loans to people in Bolivia, Kenya, Ghana, Peru, Philippines, Ukraine, Tanzania, and Tajikistan.
So far it has been a very interesting experience. I still have to do some more independent research on microfinance, but it seems to be a great way to help. Loaning someone money and expecting it to be repaid helps to teach some responsibility where just giving money does not.
I'll be sure to give more update as things develop. Has anyone else used Kiva? If so do you have any interesting stories?