A $25 Kiva loan to a Rwandan I hope to meet

Just lent a few bucks via Kiva.org to Mary Louise Nyiranzabandora here, a mother of four who runs a shoeselling business in Kigali.  She’s planning to increase her profits by expanding her stock.

Marie Louise Nyiranzabandora

Rwanda has made an amazing comeback from one of history’s worst genocides.  I’ll be visiting in a couple of weeks, and I hope to try to understand (at least a little) how people can possibly move on.  And I don’t know any better way to find out than to ask.  I’ve already got appointments set to meet with a number of small entrepreneurs there — ordinary folks just getting on with their lives — whose stories are worth telling.  I’m not sure if I’ll get to meet Ms. Nyiranzabandora herself, but whatever I learn will be in the upcoming book, but I’ll also try to share what I can here, too.  Not sure if I’ll meet

This is my 1932nd loan, by the way, and the repayment rate is still over 99 percent.  If you’d like to help out with a loan of your own, it takes about five minutes.  Join my team!

My 1800th Kiva loan: 50,000 Ugandan shillings (about 25 bucks)

Meet Sharifa, a 19-year-old who sells vegetables and charcoal in Uganda.

Sharifa needs USh 200,000 to grow her business (a little under $100).  Eventually she’d like to open a beauty salon.  She learned her business skills through a program run through the microfinance place managing her loan, BRAC Uganda.

I don’t know about you, but there’s no way I can look at this young lady and not chip in $25 toward her loan via my team at Kiva.org. (You almost always get paid back, btw — the repayment rate is close to 100 percent.)

Sharifa’s is the 1800th business I’ve invested in so far via Kiva. So far, out of over $45,000 I’ve sent out, I’ve lost less than 30 bucks. And after visiting entrepreneurs on four continents so far, I’ve seen how much good this can do with my own eyes. (If you like the idea, join my team and get started right now!)

I’m hoping to visit the good folks of BRAC Uganda on the next trip for the book.

More to come!

Next up: The International Bank of Bob, coming spring 2013


Next up: The International Bank of Bob, coming Spring 2013 from Walker/Bloomsbury.

After my round-the-world Forbes Traveler gig in '08, I plowed the cash into more than 4700 microloans in 63 countries, most via Kiva. Then I went traveling the developing world to see the results, meet cool people, and share wild stories.

The book includes trips to Morocco, Peru, Bosnia, Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania, India, Nepal, Lebanon, the Philippines, Cambodia, Vietnam, and across America.  It'll be out in Spring 2013, and I feel truly excited.

I'm already doing a lot of talks about it. A sample is directly above these words, and there's more here. If you want me to come by, call. Thanks!

#Kiva gets $5m grant! Go Kiva!

The Omidyar Network (which sounds like a Turkish ESPN but is actually a philanthropic investment firm founded by the dude behind eBay) just tossed $5million to Kiva.org.

It’s the biggest grant in Kiva’s history, and they’ll use it to further spiff up the website, hook up with more microlenders in the field, and generally do more good do-gooding more.

If you’re not up on the whole Kiva thing, the quick intro is here.  And if you haven’t yet joined my lending team, we’ve made more than 2400 loans to mom-and-pop shoestring operations in more than 50 countries. Hop on board here!