Microfinance in the Elementary environment

Here is an idea for sparking interest in geography, economics, and compassion in elementary environments.

Micro-lending is the practice of loaning money (at little or no interest) to entrepreneurs in the developing world to start new businesses, rather than simply giving money to aid organizations.   People want to be self sufficient and providing loans that enable these people to develop the means for self sufficiency is the end goal.  It can also be summed up in the old parable…

If you give a person a fish, they will eat for a day.  If you teach a person to fish, they will eat for ever.

One of Time magazine’s top 50 websites of 2008Kiva.org allows a person or group to choose a loan recipient from online profiles, make a loan, and track the repayment.

An elementary guide might speak to elementary children about Kiva.org as a means of inspiring research, learning, and action.  Children could 

  • collect or raise funds 
  • examine various loan applications at Kiva.org
  • research the countries and industries involved
  • present research to the class
  • decide how to loan class funds
  • communicate with chosen entrepreneurs
  • repeat the process when loan has been repaid

I feel that although the details of this process may be beyond children in the first plane of development, younger children might be able to participate in raising funds in conjunction with an elementary class.

Please take a few moments to examine Kiva.org and read about the opportunities, and consider sharing the site with an elementary guide.

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