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Monday, January 29, 2007

A New Way to Help

Those of you who know me know that I work in the non-profit sector, for various reasons, none of them designed to make me a wealthy person. But that's best left for another blog.

There are some really neat initiatives out there, and one of the many that intrigues me is microcredit. Microcredit NGOs issue loans to small business people (many are women) who then either start up or expand their existing businesses. This builds the self-sufficiency, and self-esteem, that many other development programs strive for and often fail at. And as women become economically self-sufficient, families thrive and they become less at risk for violent and abusive relationships. The payback rate on the loans is in the neighbourhood of 98-99%. Seems to me to be a pretty good deal all around.

Although I liked the idea, I never really knew how to get involved in this movement. Until, that is, I came across Kiva. Kiva is an online NGO (www. kiva.org) that profiles entrepreneurs in need of a loan on their website. Kiva works directly with NGOs in the countries where the entrepreneurs live. The best part is that if you see a person you would like to support with a loan, you can do so immediately with an online loan through Paypal. With just a click you can help someone half a world away.

Too good not to try. So I completed the $800 loan requested by Pauline Djagbletey, who operates the With God retail store in Dodowa, Ghana ( http://www.kiva.org/app.php?page=businesses&action=about&id=3582). She wants to expand her product offerings, and this loan will help her do it. I just received an email saying that her loan has now been disbursed and I will receive regular updates on her progress. And I will most likely get paid back from my loan.

And when I do, I will loan again through this innovative method.

Because this is something we can all do. Maybe it's even something we all should do.

Friday, January 05, 2007

My Peculiar Aristocratic Title

What a fun website! Punch in your name and you get your own title.

Pray, come hither and give due modest encouragement to ....

"Viscountess Bast the Sophisticated of Eschaton End"

Not content at one, I entered another and got:

"Empress Bast the Gnomic of Kesslington under Ox"

And again:

Lady Madame Bast the Sophisticated of Great Leering" (quite like that last bit ...)

Very fru, fru, shi, shi, non? Which one is the true Bast, do you think?

Oh yea, the URL ....www.masquerademaskarts.com/memes/peculiartitle.php

Pray, come hither again and post your own title so that I may snicker and guffaw at you too!