Kiva Means Rice-Sacks and Cooking Oil

I know when the Pig starts complaining, the world comes running. What new horror is he on about today?

The trouble is I’m getting tired of complaining. I feel uninspired. I think instead I’m going to look for people and orgs that make a difference in this world of sorrow. And write about them. Like Kiva.

Kiva is an extremely cool organization based on microfunding. You know, instead of loaning zillions to a dictator to light his cigars with, let’s loan little bits of money to ordinary people in the villages of the world who want to start or expand their own little businesses.

The keyword here is loan. At Kiva you fork over a LOAN of $25 or more to somebody, say, down in Ecuador or over in Togo, who has a dream of opening a pet food shop. He’s been to see the local microfund organization, he’s submitted his business plan. (Here it is: Poor people love their pets just as much as rich people. He’s seen a need for dog food in his village. If he had $800 he could buy dogfood wholesale and sell it retail.) The local organization reports to Kiva this guy is serious and there’s a good chance he’ll make a success. Kiva puts his picture and his story online and you decide if you want to support his dream or would you rather support the tailor in Ecuador who wants to buy two more sewing machines. Whoever you choose, they’ll pay you back over a period of months. Then you can loan it out again at no interest to somebody else who wants to expand her chicken farm. Or use it to take your sweetie out to lunch.

The part I like is knowing exactly what effect my little loan is having. It’s like Save The Children, where you know exactly where and who your donation is helping, and can even exchange letters with the kid. At Kiva, you have a name and a village and journal where you can see how they are getting along. So much better than sending a donation off to some big charity and hoping for the best.

I’m interested. In fact, I’m going to try this out right now. I’ll be the guinea pig.

Let’s see…I’ll start on Kiva’s Loan Page. Hmm, I wonder what countries I can invest in? I think I’ll click on that little link that says ‘Find businesses in need…’

Hmm. Not here. I’ll try ‘Show more options’.

I think I’ll invest in Africa. Those guys seems to always get the short end of the stick. Let’s see. Click on ‘Find Businesses.’…I have opportunities in beauty salons, a restaurant, auto repair, food distributions. Hmm, food distributions – that’s for me. But I wonder what it is?

Ah. Claire Togbe of Lome’, Togo has applied for a loan of $850. Microfund Togo has okayed her application and passed it on to Kiva. As soon as her loan is funded by people like us Kiva wires the funds to Microfund Togo along with everybody else’s loans, she picks up her check in African francs and can go stock her shelves with lots of cooking oil and sacks of rice at wholesale prices.

Here’s what Microfund Togo says about her…

“… Very enterprising and having the sense of a good management, she masteries well her commercial activities which provide for her a substantial incomes at the need of her family. Very model, she has always repaid on time her three credits granted. This fourth credit of $850 to be repaid in eight (08) months will allow him to supply in cans and rice-sacks to face the increasing request of the customary on the market in these periods of year-end. This project will allow her to make much profitable her activity for the development of her incomes in view to the improvement of her family living conditions.”

Hey, wild writing, but they make their point. I’m in like Flynn with this lady. I’m going to pop for $25 bucks.

OK. I’m in. I’m an investor. You can find me at Pondering Pig Investments. Hey – I have an idea. Why don’t you join me too? We can start a little Pondering Pig Investment Syndicate. Give each other hot tips. I’ll report here on our investments are doing.

Tomorrow: Patrushka and I are going to Idaho to celebrate our anniversary in the snow. See yuh in a couple of days.



2 thoughts on “Kiva Means Rice-Sacks and Cooking Oil

  1. Ha. Ted. Glad you remembered. Count me in, Mr. Pig. Besides my tithe at church, I like to go an extra few $$$ every month for something else. This sounds like a good one for sure.


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