Thursday, March 29, 2007

People Power

One of the members of my Elderwoman Discussion Group reminded us all, this morning, about a wonderful organization called Kiva.

It is a way in which ordinary people in the so- called 'first world' can help ordinary people in the 'third world' to get themselves out of poverty by means of 'micro-loans'. A man or woman in, say, Africa, wants to start a very small business, selling vegetables for example, or keeping chickens or weaving cloth. But he or she has no money for the first lot of seeds or the chickens or the loom or the yarn. All that is needed is a tiny loan, just to get the project going. That's where we come in.

The Grameen Bank, in Bangla Desh, pioneered these 'micro-loans' as they are called, by lending small sums to women. It worked really well and was so successful that the Bank and its Director, Prof. Muhammad Yunus, were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006.

Kiva provides a way in which we can all do this same thing and help thousands of people move out of the trap of poverty.

How much better this is than the World Bank and other monster organizations that repress and enslave the very people they are supposed to be helping!

It makes me realize, yet again, that this is how we need to heal and rebuild our world. People thinking globally and acting locally. Ordinary people reaching out to other ordinary people across the dividing lines of language, politics and power. Working together. Building local structures. Re-empowering ourselves and revitalizing our own neighbourhoods. Let's face it, Government and Big Business will never do it for us. Politicians are focused only on staying in power and Big Business has its eye only on the money.

If we want to clean up the mess that our planet has gotten into, and survive the perils of climate change and the bottoming-out of the oil supply on which our system currently depends, we have to roll our sleeves up and do it ourselves, tiny piece by tiny piece. Shopping locally, simplifying our lives, opting out of the consumer ratrace, riding a bicycle, growing our own food, farmers' markets, veg. box schemes, CSAs (community-supported agriculture), learning to make do and mend, sew and darn and patch, cook from scratch -- there are a million ways in which we can, each one of us, take charge of the situation instead of waiting for politicians or technology to rescue us. And a million ways in which we can help each other along the way. Kiva is just one of them.


turnip said...

what a great organization! I will have to look into that. Have you heard of Heifer International? I also think that is a good one. Thanks for passing along the info.

Alison said...

Yes, yes, yes! I believe you are right- individual action in households across the planet is the only way to make change happen.

(I think there will be another spin off too- a cure for affluenza- that western affliction whereby we make ourselves physically and spiritually sick on our own excesses)

Maureen said...

I've never heard of Kiva - what a fantastic organization and a great idea! Thank you for sharing the link and the info about it.

You are so right. The world won't change unless each individual doea his/her part to help it change.

joared said...

I've seen some TV news items with recent years on KIVA and it does, indeed, sound like a truly helpful program. I like the whole concept.