And, as always, where celebrities fail, bloggers are there to clean up the mess. Which explains why today is Blog Action Day, when over 10,000 blogs all take some time to mention poverty in the blind hope that readers will stop looking at videos of cats falling off things for a moment to be preached at by several inert bloggers who haven’t been outside for upwards of six or seven months.
So here goes nothing…
According to the Blog Action Day website:
First and last, the purpose of Blog Action Day is to create a discussion. We ask bloggers to take a single day out of their schedule and focus it on an important issue. By doing so on the same day, the blogging community effectively changes the conversation on the web and focuses audiences around the globe on that issue. Out of this discussion naturally flow actions, advice, ideas and plans.
That last sentence actually ended ‘and empowerment’, but it’s our understanding that no cause is dire enough for anybody to ever use the word ’empowerment’ for anything, not even ironically, so we deleted it.
Instead, here’s something about Kiva, a microfinancing scheme. Rather than donate money to a charity, Kiva asks you to loan money to a low-income entrepreneur who desperately needs it and, when the loan has been repaid, you get your money back. It’s a lot like Dragon’s Den, except you don’t have to be a mealy-mouthed Scottish ice cream man dipshit to take part.
Since Kiva describes itself better than we ever could, here’s how it describes itself:
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.
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.
By and large, Kiva is incredibly successful – so much so that every loan it had has been funded so far. But, if you want to mark Blog Action Day by doing something about poverty that doesn’t make you look you look anything like Bono at all, you could probably do a lot worse.
Right, back to normal now. All this sincerity is creeping us out.
Visit Kiva now