The Kiva team keeps breaking records — join today, and you can do a $25 loan for free!

Friends of Bob Harris, the Kiva team that sprouted up around my upcoming book, is frankly blowing my mind.

Across Kiva, more than 600,000 lenders have organized themselves into nearly 20,000 teams.

At right are the fundraising results from July.

I wish I had words for how honored I am to be a small part of this group.  (That's not false modesty; I didn't create the group, and I don't do much, other than just cheer all these kind people on.)

If you're not familiar with microfinance, it's a Nobel Peace Prize-winning solution to poverty that makes financial resources and education available to hundreds of millions of people.

Kiva, meanwhile, is an amazing platform that allows you to lend $25 or more to schools, clinics, farmers, craftspeople, and other mom-and-pop shops in more than 50 countries.

Does it work?  I've spent much of the last two years visiting clients in diverse locales like Peru, Morocco, Bosnia, Lebanon, Rwanda, Nepal, and Cambodia.  I've seen the results with my own eyes.  Yes.  It works.  In some places, it works like gangbusters.

And if you'd like to jump in, today is a great time: Kiva is offering 4000 of these $25 loans for free to new members.  They're going fast — about 20 have gone in the time it took me to write this far.

Kiva puts up the cash — you just open an account, choose a recipient whose loan you'd like to see financed, and boom — off the money goes.  You can then watch as your chosen client grows their business and repays the loan.  You'll get hooked, doing good this easily.  Pretty soon you'll want to put a little of your own cash to work, too.  (My repayment rate has been over 99 percent, so yes, you get paid back.)

The 4000 free loans to new members are zipping away — 19 more have gone since the middle of this post.  Wait — 20.  No, 21.  Okay, I'll hit "publish."  Hurry!

$700,000 and still accelerating!

Congrats to Friends of Bob Harris, the Kiva lending team I nominally captain (although all I really do is cheerlead) on passing the $700,000 mark!

FoBH has also just entered Kiva's all-time top ten teams in sheer number of loans made, passing Kiva France, with a current total of over 25,000 loans to clinics, schools, and small businesses in more than 55 countries.

I look at those numbers and frankly can't quite even imagine this much generosity brewing up so quickly from so many people. I don't even know what to say about it. Awesome, wonderful, fantastic, and so on!

Onward! Team Norway, we're coming for you!

Nepalling work conditions

A frequent sight on the outskirts of Kathmandu:

Such a stunningly beautiful country.

Such sweet, welcoming people. 

So much poverty.  So much backbreaking work.

I hope Urmila and the other great folks at BPW Patan, the microfinance bank I was here to visit, manage to do as much good as they intend to. 

Their work is as much uphill as everyone else's here.


PS my new friends Claudine and Brian have recently transitioned from white-collar America to living, working, and blogging in Nepal. Their blog, The Kathmanduo, is fabulous.