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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Kiva.org works

I've made a lot of microfinance loans in developing countries through Kiva.org. If you are curious, you can look at my loan profile.

As I read through these profiles, I've become concerned about the "Queen for a Day" nature of these stories. "Queen for a Day" is a classic game show of the 1950's in which 3 women told a sob story of their woes, and the one the audience judged most deserving -- by an Applause-O-Meter -- won. They usually won a washer and dryer. (Even as a kid, I never thought Queen Elizabeth did her own laundry.)

I like seeing what the money is being used for, but I can't judge in reading these profiles who's worthy and who's not and I feel uncomfortable feeling that an ignorant person thousands of miles away (me) is deciding who gets "Loans that change lives" and who doesn't.  And I hate to think somebody's going to be told "No, you said you needed $1000 but the rich Americans only donated $225. Maybe if you'd looked more pitiful in your picture." 

I'm happy to see that they've updated their explanation of how it really works, and that I'm not really making the decision, just supporting the microlending agency on this specific loan to a specific person and on others which they have already made, in order for them to make similar loans in the future.