Saturday, 25 July 2015

Helping Others With Microfinance Loans

On a chance visit to The Weaver of Grass blog I read a post about charities and their methods of raising money. That brought to mind one of the ways I use any small amounts of money I may have spare to help others. A few years ago I found out about two sites which make loans to people in poorer countries which help them to improve their lives. The money may be for extra livestock, seed, stock for market stalls or small shops, repairs, etc.. The money is repaid to my account over a number of months and I can then re-use it to help more people. No interest is paid to me.

I think this is a novel way to help people help themselves, not just a handout but a way of helping them to improve their lot in life. How it works is you open an account with each / either organisation and transfer some money. After that you choose when to loan the money and which person / people to lend to. Once your received repayments pass the minimum amount needed for a microloan you can relend the money to someone else.

Which are these organisations?

The first is Kiva. This one works in dollars and microloans are made in multiples of $25. Each of my contributions is a part of the amount of money a person requests.


The other is LendWithCare which works in UK pounds and microloans are made in multiples of £15.


With both organisations their sites list the people who are requesting loans, a bit about their background, what they want the loan for and what they will do with what they purchase. I look through and pick which I will contribute to. Both suggest a small extra amount with each microloan to help with their expenses. This is voluntary and I can add as much or little as I wish. Both keep me informed and let me know when repayments are received. I get the occasional email from them but these are kept to a minimum.

There is always a risk that a borrower will not be able to fully repay a loan but my experience so far has shown this to be a very, very rare event. The organisations have agents in each country where they work and vet the prospective borrowers to minimise any risk.

What I like about this method of helping others -
I choose where my money is going.
I know what my money is being used for.
The money gets to be reused.
No unknown siphoning off any of my money to enhance the lifestyle of fatcat administrators.


  1. This looks an excellent scheme. Charities these days seem to be run for the benefit of the administrators rather than the needy.

    1. Adrian. It makes a change to have some involvement. With registered charities I prefer to know the percentage of donations which are used for admin before I consider them.

  2. I have heard of Kiva before, but never participated; worth looking into! We have seen here in Belize that small amounts of money can go a long way for someone and we have frequently hired people for small, even unnecessary, projects just so they could have a little income to get them through a rough patch. We refuse to just give people money because we have also seen that folks come to rely on handouts alone. As "rich gringos", we are always targeted for handouts whenever we drive or travel anywhere, and it is hard to not just give money to some pitiful person. But we usually try to pay them for doing some small service like helping load our supplies into the boat or car, or rinsing the road dust off the car, or even just keeping an eye on the car while we do our errands. We found that we don't feel so put upon and the recipient can retain some dignity. But if someone hassles me for a handout, I can be very mean! These microloans look like a great way to help people out.

    1. Wilma: I think it's a worthwhile scheme. The borrowers are already hard working, just lack the immediate cash needed to make improvements to their businesses. I agree when pure handouts are often given then they get used to doing nothing but what is in effect begging for an 'easy' life.

  3. I intend to look at the Kiva site over the weekend when I have a little more time. Thanks for pointing me in the right direction, I think it is a jolly interesting idea. I did send my almost brand new Singer sewing machine to an African lady a couple of years ago - using someone who actually knew her to deliver it. I filled the box with threads and spare needles and hope she is using it to generate a small income.

    1. Weaver: That was a nice thought with the sewing machine. It is an eye opener reading about the struggle in life that many have in poor countries with no fail safe help from governments.


Thank you for visiting. Hope you enjoyed the pictures. Any comment, or correction to any information or identification I get wrong, is most welcome. John

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