Note: everything I discuss below is from me as a private individual, not representing anything connected to EPA, the federal government, or anyone else.)
Have you heard of microfinancing? The basic idea is that by making very small loans to entrepreneurs (like $25) in developing areas, you help them help themselves and contribute to the local economy.
Four years ago, I heard about kiva.org, a site that lets you lend to people all over the world. Since then, I’ve made 7 loans to help people do things like recycle scrap metal in Pakistan, buy a dairy cow in Kenya, and start a phone service in Cambodia. Every borrower I’ve lent to has repaid in full or is repaying on schedule. What’s nice is that Kiva stores your repayments, and then you can easily relend it. That way, your initial donation gets recycled multiple times.
Kiva has a lot of information about the risks involved, and they give you quite a bit of reporting about the “field partners” who actually find the borrowers and handle the transactions.
It seemed to me that GovLoop is full of people dedicated to public service, so I created a group here on GovLoop (group | explanation of the group) to coordinate, and a team on Kiva’s site to track the good we collectively do. Since then, 37 GovLoopers have joined and made 632 loans totalling almost $40,000!
We’d love you to join us. After joining the GovLoop group, join kiva,org, then join the GovLoop team on Kiva’s site, then choose loans, remembering to apply the loan to the GovLoop team. It’s still your loan, your risk, and you getting repaid, but we can see what impact all GovLoop members have together.
To celebrate 4 years of lending together, can you please help us spread the word, both within GovLoop and beyond? I’d love to see even more people joining our team on Kiva and helping people get a leg up worldwide.