FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

One-to-One Philanthropy Online

Doubtless you are familiar with online efforts to help victims of the southeast Asian tsunami and Hurricane Katrina. But on a much smaller scale, people who want to help others now have tools to reach them and offer assistance.

Kiva is a website connecting potential donors with entrepreneurs and small businesses in developing countries in need of small loans. It is not charity; all funds are considered loans, with an obligation to pay back the lender. Through such "microfinancing," individuals can lend as little as $25 over a six- to 12-month period. Kiva removes middlemen and is a low-overhead operation itself, so it ensures that all lent money goes directly to the recipients and is repaid in full to the lender. Lenders can use their credit cards or PayPal accounts.

Most interesting of all are the success stories of loan recipients posted on the site. The following is an account of one Kiva client, a pharmacist in Uganda:

Mr. Simon Okiror is doing very well with his drug shop and above all the community of where he comes from is enjoying so much in the service of his drug shop and with the progress... in this short period of three month since he received the loan from Kiva Office last year, Mr. Okiror’s drug shop... has improved to the level that it has opened a laboratory where tests for sicknesses like Malaria, Tuberculosis, and Typhoid including Syphilis in his drug shop... [I]t has even drugs that are rarely got from Government Hospitals...

Source: TrendCentral