Kiva.org is the world’s first person-to-person micro-lending website. It empowers individuals to lend directly to unique entrepreneurs around the globe. In most cases the money lent through Kiva is paid back as the borrower lifts themselves out of poverty.
From the Kiva website:As a lender you can join a Team to record your collective action. Humanists UK has endorsed the Humanist Team on Kiva and by extension the whole concept of micro-lending for a good cause.
Kiva partners with existing expert microfinance institutions. In doing so, we gain access to outstanding entrepreneurs from impoverished communities world-wide. Our partners are experts in choosing qualified entrepreneurs. That said, they are usually short on funds. Through Kiva, our partners upload their entrepreneur profiles directly to the site so you can lend to them. When you do, not only do you get a unique experience connecting to a specific entrepreneur on the other side of the planet, but our microfinance partners can do more of what they do, more efficiently.
Kiva provides a data-rich, transparent lending platform. We are constantly working to make the system more transparent to show how money flows throughout the entire cycle, and what effect it has on the people and institutions lending it, borrowing it, and managing it along the way. To do this, we are using the power of the internet to facilitate one-to-one connections that were previously prohibitively expensive. Child sponsorship has always been a high overhead business. Kiva creates a similar interpersonal connection at much lower costs due to the instant, inexpensive nature of internet delivery. The individuals featured on our website are real people who need a loan and are waiting for socially-minded individuals like you to lend them money.
BHA have been drawing our attention to Kiva since the site launched around the beginning of 2006, so we think it fits in well with the ethics of many humanists. When we asked members a few years ago about their giving habits, we found that humanists had a higher than average tendency to plan their giving ahead, rationally and selectively. The most popular charitable causes were those connected with social welfare and international development/aid, exemplified in the Kiva approach. Lending through Kiva also means helping a named, accountable individual towards the personal autonomy that humanists value, improving life for themselves, their family, and their community.