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Public Action Technology – Micro Loans
Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

www.kiva.org

You have to take a look at this site.

While this is not public involvement technology, per se, I would argue that www.kiva.org is a close relative. Maybe a sibling, maybe a cousin, but regardless it is a neat idea that shows how to transform public involvement to public action online.

One of the toughest challenges of public involvement is to make the connection between input/conversations and the actions, results or outcomes. It isn’t always clear. Let’s take an issue like “how can we help the third world?” I think it is possible to say that there have been many many conversations about how the first world can help the third world, but it is always difficult to see how an individual can make a difference. This kiva.org site allows individuals to make small loans to entrepreneurs in the third world. How small is small? It starts at $25. To someone in Canada that might be a movie and popcorn, to someone in Bolivia that can finance product to sell in a local market. It really makes a difference. The BEST part is that 99% of the loans get repaid. Absolutely remarkable.

Check it out. Not public involvement, but incredible public action technology in action.

– Joe Peters –

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