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Kiva: Connecting people to alleviate poverty

(Image credit: Kiva) A loan of $325 helped Alice in Uganda purchase a mobile phone, a solar charging set, and a weighing scale, so that she can provide vital farming information to her community.

For those of you who want to start small scale philanthropy, lending someone a microloan via Kiva might be a good place to get your toes wet.

Loans can be as little as $25, and you have a 97% chance of getting your money back. In the tiny unlikelihood that you don’t get your money back, you would have directly contributed to changing someone’s life. Kiva’s website is very detailed and will answer all the questions you might have on this model.

This micro-lending business model was pioneered by Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus over 40 years ago and in 1983, Grameen Bank was established to provide interest free banking to the poor in Bangladesh. The principle it functions on is that loans are better than donations to alleviate poverty as they give people an opportunity to start something that will give them an earning, enabling them to be self-sustainable.

Today 1.7 billion people are unbanked because they do not fulfill the requirements of traditional banks, leaving them totally out of the economic system. In 13 years, Kiva has disbursed $1.2 billion in loans to 3 million unbanked borrowers in 81 countries and have had a repayment rate of 96.7%.

As part of their mission to alleviate poverty, Kiva is now expanding their scope and venturing into tackling the global identity gap. Today, over a billion people cannot prove who they are. This denies them access to the most basic services. My latest post on Triple Pundit talks about this challenge and Kiva’s new initiative to provide digital identities, you can read about it here!

In case you want some further reading on the issues at hand, these are some informative reads.

Image credit: Kiva. Images are provided by Kiva to advance its mission of connecting people around the world through lending to alleviate poverty.

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