Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Matt and Jessica Flannery--Changing lives one loan at a time

Mrs. Regina Odije is a 56-year-old woman with six children. She trades in food items. She lives in an urban area of Benin City in Edo State of Nigeria.

Jessica Flannery phoned home. A bride working in Africa, half a world from her husband in San Francisco, Jessica couldn't wait to tell Matt what she had learned about the way tiny loans from the Village Enterprise Fund, were changing lives. Loans of as little as $100 helped villagers start and build businesses. They were growing oranges, making baskets, forging recycled metal into farm tools. They drew on centuries of tradition, promoting ancient customs and crafts, while providing a better standard of living for themselves, their families and quite often their communities.

Matt joined Jessica for the last two weeks of her work in Africa, and soon found he was as passionate as she to find a way to match micro-lenders to entrepreneurs. Together they built Kiva, an online community of people like you and me who loan money directly to small business owners in developing countries. Read their story.
(Images courtesy Kiva.)

Learn how you can help someone turn a profit and put food on the table with a $25 loan. You pick the entrepreneur. You decide how much of their loan request you want to fund. Don't worry. Plenty of other people are filling in the gaps--at least two people loaned their tax stimulus checks to Kiva. Take a few minutes to learn how the system works, how Kiva helps you assess the risks and due diligence, and some fun facts.

Then come back and tell us all what you think about this project, helping people help themselves to a more Ordinary lifestyle.

Note: This is the third and last in our series responding to Anonymous' request for examples of people in her hometown of San Francisco who are making the world a little bit more Ordinary.

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