Wednesday 22 February 2012

Mslexia, Kiva and me.

I had some good news today. My second Kiva loan has been repaid so I was able to re-loan it to someone else.

In issue no 50 of Mslexia, there was a small article on p.24 about Kiva, a US based charity which administers micro-loans. People can lend as little as $25 to those in the developing world who are struggling to get a business off the ground, or expand it, but are unable to access conventional bank loans. This is not so much aid as enabling trade. I logged on to to discover more and made my first loan to a group of women in Senegal.

Each borrower - an individual or a group - requests an amount which is made up from any number of lenders - for example, a $1,000 loan might be from 40 lenders each lending $25, or just a few each lending larger amounts. The loans are managed by carefully selected ‘field partners’ in the relevant countries.

A few weeks after I made my first loan I learned that a piece I had submitted to the ‘Monologues’ section in Mslexia had been chosen by Val McDermid (clearly a lady of great taste and discernment) for publication in issue 51. I received a welcome cheque which I used to make a second Kiva loan to a group of women in Mali, a country I visited 5 years ago in my quest to see Timbuktu.

The e-mails from Kiva telling me the loans had been re-paid, the second just this morning, brought me great joy in the knowledge that I had helped to make a difference. I was able to recycle that loan immediately. Priscilla and Susan who are both aiming to expand their farms in Kenya are my current loan recipients.

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