Monday, December 26, 2011

Joy to the World!

While we are unable to dispense very much joy , we can help lift the burden of poverty just a bit for one or two others who are not as fortunate as we are.

Through KIVA we are able to reach far beyond the four walls of our little condo here in Calgary to people around the world.

Are we deluded into believing we are great benefactors of mankind, and those we loan our pittance to feel some undying gratitude? Certainly not. We have been small business people ourselves, and know that a loan is both a blessing and a burden. It can enable, but it lays anxiety on your back at the same time.

But the key word is enable. Without that small lift up, there is no possibility of growth, no digging yourself out of the hole you are in, no matter how hard you work. So this month our KIVA loan, our 33rd, goes to a farmer in Armenia, a married man who supports his elderly father. Karen raises cattle and is a beekeeper. Karen asked for a loan because he needs to purchase calves and additional beehives. This expansion of the farm will help Karen to increase his income and support his household.

Ian gave me a KIVA gift card for Christmas, which I have already invested - loan number 34 has been extended to a group of farmers in Kenya. This group is part of an innovative farming support program called One Acre Fund which acts as a sort of farmer's cooperative . One Acre Fund has an integrated agriculture package, which includes training, procuring and offering quality supplies (fertilizer and seeds), credit and insurance. Clients enroll between July and October for the following planting season, which begins in February. By purchasing the needed supplies between July and October One Acre Fund is able to take advantage of the low seasonal prices for supplies.

Julius is the facilitator of the Mukunduzi B farmer's group which also includes Francis, Elias, Mellab, Neriah, Sachini, Tom. In the photograph, Julius is pictured with his group members and standing on the far left is the field officer.

Julius and his group joined One Acre Fund in the year 2011 and will re-enroll in the 2012 program. In 2012, the members of Mukunduzi B group will each plant maize plots between ½ and 1 acre of land.

Julius takes care of five children at home. He joined One Acre Fund to increase his yield of maize (corn). He works hard to produce enough income through growing corn to provide nutritious food for his children and send them to school. In the recent 2011 season, Julius had an excellent yield, harvesting eight bags on corn from his ½ acre of land. Before joining One Acre Fund, Julius was only able to harvest four bags of maize on ½ acre of land.
Julius plans to continue educating his children and hopes to expand into raising livestock in the future.

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