Microfinance: Lending to mend society

A bunch of friends and I have recently been getting into microfinance through an organisation called Kiva. We’ve set up a little collective of people who lend money directly to some of the world’s poorest people to improve their outcomes.
I’ve been captured by the concept and potential for microfinance:

Offering people a hand up, not a hand out

I’m sure I’ll post more on this and explain what we are seeking to do as a group in due course. For now I’ll settle for an example that illustrates the kind of people we are seeking to help:

One such example is Mary Ayako Wambani from Majengo, Kenya who we’ve helped to raise $1,075 to extend her stock by purchasing two Friesian cows.


Mary owns a number of dairy cows which she uses to obtain milk to sell to her clients. Her clients mostly consist of the local hotels, shops and families in her neighborhood. Mary has been in KADET for a while now and has a good credit history. She hopes to obtain a loan to enable her to buy more cows due to the high demand for milk. She also hopes to buy a milk cooler for storing the milk as she transports it to her clients.

Mary’s desire is to use the profits made to educate her children and improve her family’s living standards. She longs for the day when she will open a milk factory.

I like the idea of helping Mary in this small way 😉

New stylesheet

I’ve been learning about alternate stylesheets recently from a List Apart article and have been doing some experimenting.
I’ve been unhappy for a while with the fixed width nature of my site and, especially when reading long posts, the the readability of the main body text. I’m therefore experimenting with a stylesheet that loses the sidebar. You can try this below:

Wide View image

Click on the following icon to switch to the ‘no sidebar’ stylesheet (and click again to switch back):

It’s not amazingly clear to the user from these icons that this is what will happen when clicked so am working on how to make this clear. As usual, I’m having teething problems getting this to display properly in Internet Explorer. I’ve also introduced a ‘print’ stylesheet (below). Any comments on this function (especially browser-specific problems) welcome!

Note as of April 2013: This functionality has now been superceded.