The United Nation’s International Day for the Eradication of Poverty is this Sunday, October 17th, and this year’s theme is “From poverty to decent work: bridging the gap.” After an economic downturn that has skyrocketed the number of people living in poverty or with precarious labor situations, it’s no surprise that the U.N. has chosen to focus this year’s events on organizations and ideas that lead to sustainable models for economic stability through job creation.
Microcredit, small loans to budding social entrepreneurs, has received a lot of attention recently, especially as it proves itself to be not only an effective tool in empowering people to lift themselves out of poverty, but also as it increasingly becomes a profitable means of investing. You can become a micro-lender yourself by making loans through Kiva.org, which has facilitated over $160,000,000 in loans to over 225,000 recipients since it’s founding.
Another organization working in the realm of microfinance is Trickle Up. Working in Asia, Central America and West Africa, Trickle Up approaches microfinance through a wider lens than solely the facilitating of financial resources. Reaching out to people living on less than $1.25 a day, the organization provides one time grants, training on how to operate and sustain a microenterprise as well as ongoing business development and community building. You can check out a short video of Trickle Up’s work here.
Programs like Kiva’s and Trickle Up’s enforce that the true power of microfinance is it’s ability to empower people to lift themselves out of poverty – but that money, without knowledge, is not always enough to create the safety nets and sustainable livelihoods that lead to lasting social change. Do you know of any other organizations or individuals that are supporting this year’s theme for World Poverty Day? Share them with us!
[This blog entry appeared on an older version of Idealist; any broken links are a result of having re-launched our site in Fall 2010.]