Kiva – loans that change lives

I received an email from an old colleague today about a website where loans can be made to people in the developing world. Referred to as a “micro-lending”, it’s a truly amazing site and a great alternative to blind giving.

I’ll quote from their “about us” page:

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.

Weird duplicate postings

Not sure why, but I’m getting duplicate postings on this site. There must be something funny going on behind the scenes, and perhaps it’s time for a wordpress upgrade. Grrr… Something to sort out this evening.

Update: update worked. Happy now… back to family guy.

Merseyrail presses Network Rail to handover running tracks

This, in the Liverpool Daily Post says that transport chiefs in Merseyside are lobbying for control of the railway tracks. Apparently they’ve been pushing for the past two years for this, and despite the headline, it doesn’t look like there’s been much movement forward in the idea. However, it seems that Merseyrail are still pushing for it. And good on them for trying.

The only way that sub-regional areas will get the railways that they need is if there is control at the sub-regional level. It would make perfect sense for Merseyrail to take control of the lines – in exactly the same way that it would make sense for GMPTE to control the Greater Manchester side (and while we’re at it, a Lancashire Passenger Transport Executive would be good!)

Of course we then get back to the wider city-region / metropolitan county council debate, but that’s not a bad thing. Where there is sub-regional decision making, there should be appropriate representation.

In the meantime, good luck to Merseyrail.

Personal fundraising – we should be doing this

Christopher Locke, author of Gonzo Marketing and The Cluetrain Manifesto, sent out a message from his RageBoy/Gradient Entropy Reversals blog/list over the weekend to this personal fundraising page on Barack Obama’s campaign site.

It’s so simple, I’m astonished that this hasn’t been done here. An individual can create a page to raise money and then send the link around to colleagues, friends, crusty old mailing list lurkers.

With party finances as they are, we need to be looking to different ways of raising money. This is a neat idea, simply executed and I imagine, raising millions for the senator. It empowers the individual supporters, isn’t party based and reduces the need for big backers.

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