Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Micro-Lending and Missions

I have been studying microbanking recently to see what role it might play in foreign and domestic missions. I went to the opening of the movie To Catch A Dollar (http://www.tocatchadollar.com/), a documentary about bringing the Grameen Bank micro-lending structure to the US. One of the panelists on the movie was the head of www.kiva.org, which is a non-profit designed to link concerned people to worthy poor people to fund loans in increments of $25. The head of Kiva is a very young tech-savy person, and Kiva has really grown fast. “Since Kiva was founded in 2005: 571,457 Kiva lenders; $205 million in loans; 98.65% Repayment rate - We work with: 131 Field Partners; 450 volunteers around the world; 59 different countries” (http://www.kiva.org/about). From a missional viewpoint, it seems that this has application in meeting a very immediate tangible needs of the people ministered to, immediate and natural connections to locals (with weekly meeting requirements between the lending organization and the borrowers according to the Grameen model), and entry into otherwise closed countries. A missionary could look into either becoming a field partner so that people they interact with could become loan recipients (http://www.kiva.org/partners/info), or assist their people to get whatever they need together to work with another field partner (http://www.kiva.org/partners). Either of these could be a low-cost entry into a field which could really benefit people and open doors for the Gospel. Please contact me if you're interested in this.
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