Skip to main content

Kiva: Why I only lend to women (outside the US).

I lend on Kiva.
I lend to women (individually and in collectives).
I lend in the poorest regions of the world.

I used to believe, but I know:

if we empower women we change the world

I first started my journey towards sub-saharan african issues out of a deep personal connection that I couldn't find the bottom of during much philosophic and spiritual interrogation. I knew that I felt something bigger in my heart when I read about events in the region; when my brother interned in Kenya (and had to hike 3 days out of the bush to have an appendectomy); when I first met some of "The Lost Boys" (who not coincidentally helped me find parts of my self that I had never really discovered).

I met our little contingent of the lost boys when living in Chicago, having just recently adjusted to having a newborn son, it was a crash of future hope and future terror. To look in Isaiah's eyes and see the innocence, the love, the trust and at the same time listen to stories of men (in boys bodies) who had to carry their infant siblings across predator infested rivers and see their families torn apart by war, predation, famine, and religious dogma was a crucible in which my heart was broken, melted, and poured back together into what it has become.

Not long after that, I read "The End of Poverty" by Jeffrey Sachs in which he does a broad analysis of macro-economics and identifies five basic needs that if addressed can change a community from impoverished to poor. The distinction being, that a poor community has enough resources to start climbing the economic ladder, but impoverished ones are circling the drain - without enough resources to get ahead. Ever.

I believe that war, terror, and clandestine operations make our news bite focused society feel better because we deliver immediate relief by swatting the buzzing flies the media constantly barrages us with. We have (from the comfort of our warm, soft, living room chairs with our 40+" LED 4k TVs) assuaged the guilt that naturally arises from our innate compassion for other human beings in need. But these solutions (war, terror and clandestine operations) and their Trillion Dollar price tags do not actually solve the problems that drive evil, they fix the symptoms that evil produces.

The real solution, what we need to make a stable, productive, safe place for "our" (the worlds) children is actually pretty simple:

    ERADICATE EXTREME POVERTY AND HUNGER ACHIEVE UNIVERSAL PRIMARY EDUCATION PROMOTE GENDER EQUALITY AND EMPOWER WOMEN REDUCE CHILD MORTALITY IMPROVE MATERNAL HEALTH COMBAT HIV/AIDS, MALARIA AND OTHER DISEASES ENSURE ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY DEVELOP A GLOBAL PARTNERSHIP FOR DEVELOPMENT

These were defined as the Millenium Development Goals.

While I have a healthy skepticism anything as large as the UN can affect any kind of real global change, I believe these goals define a path forward that change make the world a place I want to leave for my children. So, I put my money where my mouth is and I lend to women in the worst places in the world.

You should too.