The Revolution

Last week was my dad's birthday and much like most children around holidays, I started tearing my hair out trying to find a fitting present. I couldn't decide whether to go with a tie that he would never wear, or golf binoculars that would never be used since all his shots slice into the woods (sorry Dad). Ultimately, the day was saved with a gift certificate.

Started in March of 2005, is modernizing the way every day people can help problems in the developing world. The organization's focus is through an intricate system of microloans aimed at allowing any everyday person to directly loan money to a person of their choice somewhere else in the developing world. works with microfinance organizations and then posts on their website a list of individual people in need of a certain amount of money. Whether it be basket weaving, raising livestock, or selling produce, individuals are now directly getting the money to start their own business. As an "investor" you can choose exactly which person you would like to directly loan money to and in return the overseas entrepreneur will provide you with updates about how the business is going. In addition, while you have the option of donating as much money as you would like, loaners typically loan anywhere from $25-$500 dollars thus revolutionizing the way people are able to support these developing entrepreneurs. Eventually, your investment is paid back, without interest, and then you can either take your money back, or reinvest it in another entrepreneur elsewhere in the world.

To date, 251,966 people have loaned $22.8 million, with an astounding repayment rate of 99.87%. By breaking the mold of normal donations, people looking to help the developing world can do so by making individual choices, rather than donating to large global organizations like the Red Cross or Amnesty International where once you donate your money, you simply must trust that it's going to good use. Furthermore, with such a hands on system, people are widely using Kiva gift certificates, as mentioned earlier, and further promoting the program in whole.

An important lesson is being taught though the example of Kiva. As we've known for quite some time now, the Internet is completely changing the dynamic abilities of the individual. As we can see in the recent presidential primaries, grassroots efforts are proving to be the most valuable tool in candidates arsenals in spreading awareness, gaining support, and raising money at a rate never before seen. This model being applied to something even as obscure as microfinance underlines the strength of utilizing grassroots efforts to any variety of fields. With people now more interconnected than ever before, the possibilities are virtually limitless. Now the next real question is how can we apply this model of 250,000 individuals working separately towards a single goal to other areas in need, and revolutionize every cause with the support of thousands of active supporters.