Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Meet Yaa of Ghana

It was just yesterday, when I informed Cuppa that I had loaned money to a woman in Ghana that she groaned, thinking that senility had prematurely set into my brain. However, when I explained how the micro loans worked at KIVA, she agreed that I remained in my right mind and actually commented that I was doing a good thing.

Many years ago, I used to show a video to my World Issues students featuring several people who were quite skeptical about the worth of foreign aid. They were taken to the Indian subcontinent to view various aid projects. Although they weren't totally thrilled with all they they saw, by and large, they became convinced of the value of assisting others. One of the most convincing cases was the change in lives that they saw from lending women (mostly) small amounts of money — micro loans — that changed their lives. In additions to significantly improving lives, these tiny loans were almost invariably paid back.

So ... when Ginnie posted yesterday about her experiences of helping various people through KIVA, I was moved to lend a very modest amount to Yaa of Ghana, mother of seven who sells baked goods and meat pies in her local market. She requested a loan to help her increase her inventory and improve her business.

How it works is that many of us will each loan Yaa a small amount of money until she has the amount that she needs to meet her requirements. She is due begin paying the money back early next year. At that point, I can recoup my investment or lend it to someone else.

I looked for someone at the lower end of the socioeconomic scale, and Yaa seemed to fit. I also preferred to assist a woman because I think that a woman's lot is harder than a man's in the developing world ... and perhaps everywhere. Also, by helping a woman, I feel that I increase my chances of helping a whole family, in this case seven children, and that seems desirable to me.

Repayment of loans is very high, over 95%, but even if the borrower defaults, it is likely that no one lender will lose very much of his or her investment.

What a neat concept to help others to help themselves with very little outlay required on our parts. Most of us can't do a whole lot to make the world a better place, but I figure that every little bit helps. And, what the heck, call me selfish, but I rather enjoy the warm feeling that comes with such a small gesture.


Woman in a Window said...

Beautiful you. I've heard of this organization and it's all good. And yes, the success rate is hugely high. Wishing (was it Gaa?) a healthy business and much happiness.

Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

Good for you. Ginnie is always an inspiration in many ways.

I, too, have been interested in this form of aid. I am still trying do something my grandchildren can participate in. I think it will be a good lesson in the importance to help others and everyone can do something even if it is quite modest. I also see it as an opportunity to learn a little about how other people live and of course it a a geography lesson.

Barry said...

Now this is a wonderful concept. I've read about it without looking into it. Something I will now have to do.

Thanks for this.

Judy said...


You are good people, Anvilcloud.

Thanks for sharing this. It's just SO hard to know who to trust.

Donna said...

It's not that you DID this, it's Why you did this...What a kind thing for you to do Ac!(((HUG)))

thailandchani said...

KIVA is the best "charity" organization! I often wish I could help all of the people who need small loans.


Lorna said...

good on you.

ChrisB said...

I've seen this concept on other blogs. It does seem a very good project. You'll have to let us know how how she gets on.

Anonymous said...

I have heard of this and take part in the Sisters of Charity group involved in this. India, Botswana and in Belize. I agree the help to a woman is most likely to help the family. While in Belize, I could not get over the idea that the men don't work. They say the lose of Mahogany tees in 1975 Hurricane Hattie took away all their work. Hum.

Kila said...


I sponsor a boy through Compassion. Very rewarding. :)

Kila said...


I sponsor a boy through Compassion. Very rewarding. :)

Diana said...

Well AC this doesn't surprise me of you. I can vision you as an angel in disguise! Love Di

Anonymous said...

This is the first I have heard of this... but I LOVE the idea. How better to help someone than to give them the chance and ability to help themselves. I am going to look into this further. Thanks for the heads-up. :-)

KGMom said...

Proud of you, AC--I signed on to Kiva a couple of years ago--it is such fun to "pick" someone to back.
But, I am always stunned at the sheer simplicity of their requests.
Oh my, we have so so much.

Heather Plett said...

I've been impressed with what I've heard about KIVA.

Ruth said...

Thanks for the link. I have read about such programs but have never participated in them,