Sunday, October 09, 2011

Outsourcing My Charity Work Part 3

Outsourcing My Charity Work Part 3

I rolled up to my Tuesday class in mostly optimistic mood. When I'd given them the homework of pitching someone for me to loan money to, they'd looked moderately interested. But they were IT geeks. Maybe they'd have spent the week playing World of Warcraft in darkened rooms instead of helping me do some good? Another worry was that one of the students had emailed me saying it was hard to choose and depressing because there were so many people who needed help.

I needn't have stressed. It was one of the worst lessons I ever did, and one of the best.
The worst because I don't think the four students who came learned a single thing about the English language.
The best because it restored almost all of my faith in humanity.

The first student, C-Man, told me how he'd made his choice. "I started by filtering for educational loans. I wanted to invest in education because that's long-term value, not just some guy who wants to buy a van or something. There were only nine to choose from. The best was this group in Sierra Leone. The Field Risk rating is 3 out of 5 - I think that's good. The delinquency rate is 0.27%, which is impressive. The loan will help a guy send his kids to primary school. The teachers are going to take a pay cut to repay the loan."

Minkailu S's Group
Huh? The teachers are going to take a pay cut so that their friend can send his kids to school? If someone tried to cut my pay I'd implode the whole frikkin universe before letting it happen.

The second student, P-Dog, started his presentation by saying he didn't have a connection to any of the countries represented on Kiva. I thought he was going to say, 'so I didn't find anyone.' I began to get disappointed... until he blew my mind with his awesomeness! "I really got into it. It was the most interesting homework I've ever done. I tried to find a country I had a connection with... and I found it in Azerbaijan." Huh? What? "As you may know, Azerbaijan won the Eurovision Song Contest with this song." He then tapped his iPhone and it played a song. He had prepared!

It was this song (Running Scared):

Obviously the song is mediocre pop silliness, but I loved that he'd put even the slightest effort into it. But there was more. Much more! "I found an iPhone app to look at all the people on Kiva. I spent 90 minutes on the train checking them all out. I chose this guy Galamhuseyn Djahangirov. I liked his face. The other people who invested in him seem young and cool. He needs 2000 Azerbaijani Manat to buy construction tools. I tried to find that currency on our banking software and it wasn't even there."

Galamhuseyn Djahangirov

It was already the best presentation since An Uncomfortable Truth. He continued, "The Field Partner has a 4-star risk rating and a ZERO percent delinquency rate. They've made over 3 million dollars of loans already. They're going to take all the currency exchange rate risk.

"I also liked that he's in construction. Azerbaijan is ugly. I saw that when I watched Eurovision. So this guy will have a lot of work, making it look good for Eurovision. Also, they're bidding for the Olympics, so that's even more work!

"And the girls there are super hot. You could make the loan and then go over and meet hot Azerbaijani chicks. Ugly buildings, beautiful women."

Best. Presentation. Ever.

"M-and-M," I said, turning to the last student, "Follow that!"
For a moment, I thought M would just give up. But he didn't. He believed in his choice too much!
"I chose Anthony Steve Mori Mendoza," he said, "And you should, too. For the same reasons as C-Man, I also started by choosing the education sector. Anthony is from Peru, and he's studying Computer Science. I liked him because he had the best grades in his university, and he needs the money to continue his education. He works part-time, so he can repay the loan. The Field Partner is solid, but my favourite thing is that it says he has a goal. I'm in IT, too, and I just found that I can relate to him."

Anthony Steve Mori Mendoza
Dammit! All the presentations were ace! The students saw that I was undecided, and started adding arguments in their favour.

"If you choose my teacher guys," said C-Man, "You benefit the highest number of people."
"Yeah but my guy has 4 kids," said P-Dog, "So that's loads of people who benefit, indirectly."
"Look, Andrew," said M-and-M, "I believe in my guy. If you don't invest in him, I will."
"Okay guys," I said, "I'll let you know my decision later."

I mailed them:

Dear Students,
Thanks for a great lesson today. I was delighted you put so much effort into the homework.
We had three great presentations. The winner was P-Dog, because of his unlikely use of the words 'Eurovision Song Contest', 'hot Azerbaijani girls', and 'I liked his face.'
But in the end I decided to invest in all of them. Attached you'll see my 'portfolio' of loans.

I checked the loan status twice an hour, because I'm a total nerd. Within half a day, two of my students had invested their own money in the guys they'd recommended to me, and two of the guys asking for money had been fully funded.

Join my Kiva lending team - Andrew Girardin's Lonely Hearts Loan Band.  

(Update - in 2011 we reached our goal of raising $1,000 dollars for the world's hard-working poor.)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.