In the summer of 2002, Imbi, the kids and I headed off to Kenya to teach for most of the summer. This was our kids first time in Africa and the experience broadened their worldview and gave them a heart for the developing world. Imbi and I had both been in Africa numerous times before and had/have a real love for the countries we’ve been in – South Africa, Zimbabwe and Kenya.
We stopped over for a few days in London en route, and our good friend, Christopher, gave us a book by Steve Hilton and Giles Gibbons called Good Business. The premise of their book was that ethically run businesses can be an effective force for good in the developed & developing world. One of the things discussed in the book was Microfinance – the provision of small business loans to local entrepreneurs in the villages and towns of the developing world. They described the powerful impact these interest free loans have had – and how they can accelerate positive change. I recommend the book highly. (Visit the Good Business website to see what Hilton & Gibbons are doing today.)
I must confess that I was surprised when I read Good Business that the Church was not a leader in this effective program. (Church programs weren’t mentioned in the book and my own research afterwards seemed to confirm this reality.) How often have you heard the "teach a man to fish" cliché in church – and yet here were actual examples of how we could do just that. This is not say that Christians aren’t involved – it just doesn’t seem to have particular profile in the West. Check out the MIX Market for information on Microfinance and visit AERDO for more information about Christian involvement. And spread the word about how effective these small loans can be in combatting developing world poverty while building self-confidence in the people.