Thursday, December 7, 2006

Microcredit can change the world

a new global investment phenomenon

I thought I had better write a quick entry regarding this new system of banking that is sweeping around the globe. After having watched and listened to a few interviews with Nobel Prize Winner, Muhammad Yunus I must say that the concept of Microcredit has captured our attention at Shaw Treatment.

So in a pleasant twist and coming together of technologies and disciplines, we were recently contacted by www.nonprofittechblog.org for an interview. While reviewing this site created by IT consultant Allan Benamer, we couldn't help but notice a company by the name of Kiva.org. After spending what seemed like a couple of hours of reviewing the site and organization - I was hooked!

I can loan money to entrepreneurs around the globe in third world countries. COOL!

In most cases the people requesting loans were unable to get a loan through conventional means. Let's face it, big banks aren't exactly willing to help people that really need it. That's where microcredit comes in. With the help of hundreds of other people like you and me, we can loan as little as $25 to a farmer in Kenya to buy a cow or a water pump.

It's quite simple, register and use your PayPal account to loan some money or 'diversify' your portfolio and loan to several people in different countries. Once the target amount is raised, it will be be loaned to the individual that requested it. They will then have a set period of time to pay it back. The idea here is to give people a hand-up, not a hand-out.

As I see it, my financial advisor is going to freak out when he learns that I'm loaning money and getting no pay-off in the end except my initial investment and the satisfaction that I helped someone grow their business a bit and put food on their family's table.

Happy Holidays! Brad.

Kiva - loans that change lives

Friday, December 1, 2006

Tories deliver on AIDS pledge

Not too little and not too late

This is a clipping of an article we submitted to The Toronto Star last evening.
Here are the links
~Original front page article
~Our response

Tories deliver on AIDS pledge Nov. 30.Kudos to International Co-operation Minister Josée Verner for finally coming through and "politicizing" World AIDS Day with a Canadian commitment of $50 million. It could have happened back in August and comes as small consolation to the roughly 657,000 people who have died of HIV/AIDS in Africa since the meeting in Toronto this past summer.

Stephen Lewis has been such an outspoken advocate on a global level and his undying dedication to this cause has not been missed by this reader. I continue to be inspired by his work and writings.

Although the money comes too late for many, let us hope that it will quickly make it to its intended targets. The eyes of the World Bank, the WHO, the UN and many countries have been on Canada for some time now to strike ahead with a groundbreaking financial commitment that would have a serious impact on the pandemic that affects us all.

I hope that World AIDS Day sparks us all to jump to action to donate or get involved. Through small but significant individual actions, we can all make the world a better place.
Michelle Shaw and Brad Arsenault, Toronto