13 November 2006

Social Entrepreneurs: Kiva on FRONTLINE WORLD

One of the most innovative approaches to microcredit these days uses the power of the Internet to link together lenders and recipients. I wrote about Kiva several months ago after a friend pointed me to their site. A couple of weeks ago, while many of us were taking our children out trick-or-treating, FRONTLINE World ran a feature on Kiva, focusing on its lending program in Uganda. You can view the 15-minute video here: FRONTLINE World: Uganda

The broadcast was so inspiring that the Kiva site jammed with potential lenders wanting more information or to make loans. The site is now back up and running. Be thinking about Kiva and its loan recipients this holiday season. It's a fantastic experiment and one that is working (their loan repayment rate is currently 100%; that means you can make a loan to one individual who wants to start-up or expand their small business in developing country and, when it's repaid, turn the loan around to others. Absolutely brilliant.

Here's a description of the show, Uganda - A Little Goes a Long Way:

Radio reporter Clark Boyd first reported about Kiva.org for Public Radio International's news program The World. He now travels to Uganda for FRONTLINE/World, where the first recipients of money collected through Kiva's Web site are building and expanding businesses.

Kiva, which means "agreement" or "unity" in Swahili, would allow people with a little bit of extra cash to use their credit card or the online money transfer company, PayPal, to lend directly to African entrepreneurs. Kiva got its start a little more than a year ago in Uganda, where it forged partnerships with local microfinance institutes so that each business would be vetted and approved before being posted on the site.

Boyd travels to Uganda to find out more about the real-world impact of these micro loans, He arranges to meet Grace Ayaa, whose peanut butter business received a micro loan through Kiva. When she fled a brutal war between government and rebel forces in the north, she took refuge in the capital. She takes Boyd to the Acholi Quarter, a poor neighborhood on the outskirts of Kampala, where many people displaced by Uganda's decades-long conflict scrape together a living.

View the video here: FRONTLINE World: Uganda

Visit Kiva

Kiva Co-founder and CEO Matthew Flannery's blog: Kiva Chronicles

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