Friday, June 29, 2007

I invested in a butcher's shop in Tajikistan and a smoked-fish seller in Sierre Leone today.

Social responsibility is one of our core values at ThoughtWorks, my employer. There's lots of conversation at the moment about what we should do. A colleague, Angela, mentioned that she is a micro-lender on Kiva and I followed her link.

I saw a documentary recently about micro-loans, but in the same way that I quite often think "I should buy/eat/organise/think/read about that", it went out of my mind. I have several criteria for charity. The overheads of many of the large charities mean that the money we donate doesn't always do quite as much good as we think it might. I'm interested in Africa. I like to support women. I think that education is essential in developing nations. What delighted me about Kiva is that I am able to direct my money to individuals, and the site UI allows me to choose which people I support based on their gender, location and business.

So instead of checking out Facebook at lunchtime today I made a loan to Mbalu Kholifa, a mother of two who runs a business producing and selling smoked fish. She wants her children to have a good education, and the loan will help them to buy materials for the business and improve profits. Flushed by my success I wanted to find more women to help, but couldn't find any involved in food. So I made a loan to Abdumavlon Salimov, who rears and slaughters his own cattle in Tajikistan. I figure that if I am ever in that part of the world, I'll know where to get a good steak.


Blogger deman said...


You should be commended for this effort. Many should follows, including me :)

9:36 AM  

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