Saturday, 7 March 2015

International Bank of Bob

I do Kiva... and so does he! Only he wrote a book about it and about visiting who he loaned to. (In as far as you can say actually given when loans are pre-disbursed.)

Bob Harris is a journalist, and while visiting the most expensive hotels ever (where coffee cost more than a car, and a car more than a house), he felt there should be some way to help those in poverty. And then he found Kiva. And finding them, then decided to do a piece on the clients and how his loans helped them. Then eventually he did that, visiting many desperate counties / towns / villages / people. And found that microfinancing was indeed helping them. Money used by those who know locally how to use it.

But that's not all. In fact, in many ways, that's only around half the book. We also get some potted history of Bob himself, and variously essays on historical events in various countries (that helped to create the situation microfinance can help against), and other asides. Interesting asides, but not what you'd think the book would be about.

I'm not sure that reading this would inspire someone to join Kiva (I'm baised, as I'm already in), still it is a good read about some parts of countries we wouldn't normally think about.. and about how they aren't that different to us.


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