Courtesy of one of my clients at work – Cathay Pacific, this Christmas I officially became a lender to a pharmaceutical business in Kasubi, Uganda.
Thanks to a website called “Kiva”, I have lent money to Nanano Swaibu and her employees to help them purchase stock for their business as well as purchase a boda-boda motorcycle taxi to rent out to generate more income. Nanano has requested $2,000 which I, and a selection of other Kiva members will loan to her business on a twelve month repayment term managed via a local “on-the-ground” microfinance institution.
Over the coming weeks, I will be able to log onto my Kiva account and view reports submitted by Nanano regarding her business success and progress in repaying the loan given to her. Once my loan has been repaid, I will then have the option to either withdraw my investment, or to use my “Kiva Credit” to help out another business in the developing world. What a fantastic idea!
The brainchild of Matt and Jessica Flannery, Kiva.org has been endorsed by leaders around the world including former US President Bill Clinton and is currently receiving press all over the place. The reason I love this concept so much is that when it comes to “charity”, I believe more in empowering people to help themselves, rather than just delivering hand-outs.
If you’re looking for a different gift this Christmas that will make a difference, check out www.kiva.org. Loans start for as little as $25 and let’s face it, the feeling of satisfaction that you have helped make a difference in the life of a business owner in a developing country, and subsequently all of their customers, is worth so much more.
Oh, by the way, I’ll do my best to add updates on how Nanano’s business is going in the comments section below, over the coming months.