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Kiva - Loans That Change Lives

According to the Wikipedia Article:

A kiva is a room used by modern Puebloans for religious rituals, many of them associated with the kachina belief system. Among the modern Hopi and most other Pueblo peoples, kivas are square-walled and underground, and are used for spiritual ceremonies.

Similar subterranean rooms are found among the ancient peoples of the American southwest, including the Ancient Pueblo Peoples , the Mogollon and the Hohokam. Those used by the ancient Pueblos of the Pueblo I Era and following, designated by the Pecos Classification system developed by archaeologists, were usually round, and generally believed to have been used for religious and other communal purposes.

Wait a second, that’s not what I was looking for. The organization website has a better description:

Kiva's mission is to connect people through lending for the sake of alleviating poverty.

Kiva is the world's first person-to-person micro-lending website, empowering individuals to lend directly to unique entrepreneurs in the developing world.

The people you see on Kiva's site are real individuals in need of funding - not marketing material. When you browse entrepreneurs' profiles on the site, choose someone to lend to, and then make a loan, you are helping a real person make great strides towards economic independence and improve life for themselves, their family, and their community. Throughout the course of the loan (usually 6-12 months), you can receive email journal updates and track repayments. Then, when you get your loan money back, you can relend to someone else in need.

Kiva partners with existing expert microfinance institutions. In doing so, we gain access to outstanding entrepreneurs from impoverished communities world-wide. Our partners are experts in choosing qualified entrepreneurs. That said, they are usually short on funds. Through Kiva, our partners upload their entrepreneur profiles directly to the site so you can lend to them. When you do, not only do you get a unique experience connecting to a specific entrepreneur on the other side of the planet, but our microfinance partners can do more of what they do, more efficiently.

Kiva provides a data-rich, transparent lending platform. We are constantly working to make the system more transparent to show how money flows throughout the entire cycle, and what effect it has on the people and institutions lending it, borrowing it, and managing it along the way. To do this, we are using the power of the internet to facilitate one-to-one connections that were previously prohibitively expensive. Child sponsorship has always been a high overhead business. Kiva creates a similar interpersonal connection at much lower costs due to the instant, inexpensive nature of internet delivery. The individuals featured on our website are real people who need a loan and are waiting for socially-minded individuals like you to lend them money.

I'm a Kiva lenderPlease don't claim the gift certificate if you're not new to Kiva, I'm hoping this will get someone new involved.

To claim the gift certificate

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<a href="http://www.kiva.org/redeem?purchaserEmail=public@johndbritton.com&giftCode=8354562245479">click this link</a>
and follow the instructions to open a new account. Once you’ve created your account make sure to lend the funds to an entrepreneur, otherwise the money will just sit there for a year before becoming a donation to cover Kiva’s operating costs.

The next Kiva gift certificate link will be posted on

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<a href="http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/fixedtime.html?month=2&day=13&year=2009&hour=12&min=0&sec=0&p1=179">Friday, 13 February 2009 between 12:00-13:00 EST</a>
. I’m telling you this now to give you an advantage over the other internet dwellers, come back later to claim your gift certificate too!