Welcome to The Kettle!

Primarily, "The Kettle" publicizes and manages the "Three Cups of Tea Book Project." However, as described in our very first post (click here), we also hope to use "The Kettle" as a medium for individuals interested in social issues to become more aware of the lives of those less fortunate. Ideally, whatever we write or publish here will take that nascent concern and transform it into action. To inspire any action, small or large, in the genuine interest of doing better for the world is our ultimate goal.

Though heavily slanted towards Pakistan and Afghanistan presently, we do try to include news, opinions, and reference materials regarding diverse topics, including poverty, reconstruction, human rights, Africa, "Green" developments, Micro Finance, and other solutions and considerations for what are essentially man made problems in the world. In the universe of charitable options, we endorse and support multigenerational solutions and initiatives for multigenerational problems.

The education made possible by the Central Asia Institute is one such solution, but there are certainly others. We encourage the commitment of resources and people that goes beyond merely "patriarchal" handouts to the multitude of people in need. We agree that it is good to charitable, but charity that only treats the symptoms and not the root causes has proven to be insufficient. A consistent commitment to work with the local communities of people in need to provide and/or improve education, nutrition, access to capital, human rights, security, sustainable development/redevelopment, and environmental stewardship are what will lead to an enduring improvement in people's lives.

If you have any questions, general comments, and suggestions for improvements, please leave a comment on any of the posts below, and we'll follow up with you!

The Kettle's shared items

Sunday, June 14, 2009

NY Times: Nicholas D. Kristof: Putting the Microsavings in Microfinance

Published: May 26, 2009

It has become increasingly clear that the most important element of microfinance isn’t lending, but savings. That lesson was taught to me by SEWA in India, Kashf in Pakistan and Grameen in Bangladesh. Only some poor people will benefit from the chance to borrow, but almost all will benefit from the chance to save. That’s also [...] (More here)
Can you imagine paying 40% a year to save your money at a bank? That's exactly what happens in some parts of the world. Nicholas Kristof speaks of how micro savings and not micro credit may by the most important aspect of microfinance. Not only is this more impactful, it might actually be more achieveable, I think. Several years ago and even now, I was/am able to fund a savings account in the United States for $10 (or less!?). I subsequently opted to put the bulk of my savings elsewhere, but that $10 deposit continues to exist in a savings account which has been collecting interest ever since.
So, why can't "regular" banks continue to lend as they are used to, but allow for micro savings from the poor? The obvious answer might be discrimination and a desire to put up a more prestigious appearance--having poor or impoverished people at banking centers might turn off more fortunate account holders... One would hope we can get passed that sort of thinking.

-- The Kettle Rumbles

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