Friday, April 10, 2009

Kiva - A Worldly Learning Experience

Are you looking for a way to teach your students business principles along with empathy? In the powerful new world of the internet, one of the biggest positives is our newfound ability to connect with others around the world. Kiva is an organization which uses these global connections to provide micro-loans to small businesses developed by individuals in third world and developing countries. There are so many important lessons to be learned by involving your classroom (or family) in supporting one or several of these businesses. There are lessons in business (loans are repaid as the business succeeds), lessons in poverty, geography, commonality and most of all, the enduring power of the human spirit.

How Kiva Works
Choose an Entrepreneur, Lend, Get Repaid

1) Lenders like you browse profiles of entrepreneurs in need, and choose someone to lend to. When they lend, using PayPal or their credit cards, Kiva collects the funds and then passes them along to one of our microfinance partners worldwide. (Investments start at $25.)

2) Kiva's microfinance partners distribute the loan funds to the selected entrepreneur. Often, our partners also provide training and other assistance to maximize the entrepreneur's chances of success.

3) Over time, the entrepreneur repays their loan. Repayment and other updates are posted on Kiva and emailed to lenders who wish to receive them.

4) When lenders get their money back, they can re-lend to someone else in need, donate their funds to Kiva (to cover operational expenses), or withdraw their funds.

Think about it! Give it a go in one of your classrooms and report back here as to what you've learned.

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