Saturday, November 28, 2009

Atheists on Kiva.org

I just joined the site Kiva.org. This is a really great site that lets you loan, not donate, money to entrepreneurs of your choice, mostly in developing countries. They use the money to invest in their business, and pay it back later. Once paid back, you can re-loan the money to a new project or withdraw it back into your Paypal account. The minimum loan amount is US$25, and almost all of the loans get paid back. The delinquency rate is very low.

This concept is known as microfinance or microcredit. It was first brought to my attention by the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006, Muhammad Yunus of Bangladesh, who started a bank for this purpose.

The Kiva.org site lets you join a "lending team", which allows you to join together with people in your region, or people who have the same interests. When I brought up a list of the teams, top of the list was Atheists/Agnostics/Freethinkers/Secular Humanists/Non-Religious. At first I thought it was just alphabetical order, my knowledge of the alphabet telling me that 'A' appears rather early in the sequence. But as I took a closer look, I saw that the team was at the top of the list because it had the most members and had loaned the most money of all 10,000 or so teams. Which team is currently a very distant second place? Kiva Christians.

3 comments:

Eillix said...

I've noticed that we Christians have unflattering reputations in other areas as well.

A few of the things I've seen & heard is that:
* many of us don't leave good tips (if at all).
* we talk about doing good in our communities but regularly fail to follow through.
* we're quick to judge & condemn but we rarely practice what we preach.

it's definitely sad to see (especially since I've heard these things growing up). However we're not all that way.

I'm not really sure if your observation & others are just observations, comparisons, a little of both, or neither.

Where are you coming from?

Admin said...

You mean to ask what am I getting at with this post?

1. An invitation for others to join Kiva, which appears to be a worthwhile organisation.

2. A rebuke to all of the religious twits who claim that atheists aren't charitable. I've seen them cite examples of some charities in which Christians give more, but here is one in which the atheist team is on top.

Eillix said...

Kiva looks pretty cool. I'll need to check it out some more, but I'm thinking that I may join.

I really like that borrowers aren't demeaned or treated like scum (e.g. the you-better-be-grateful-we're-doing-you-a-favor).

Big points to Kiva for that.

As far as the religious twits go - you know, I'm really not sure why they're keeping score.