Jackie Peterson reports on our August 19th event
This month’s Global Social focused on East and Southeast Asia as well as China. Ketty Loeb from Wokai was invited to present briefly on Wokai’s micro-credit work and poverty in China.
Currently the poverty rate is 8-10%, Loeb notes, and there is a growing divide between rural and urban populations. According to Loeb 75% of the people in China do not have access to credit. In China, it is not legal to loan to individuals so micro-finance organizations serve as brokers or intermediaries in that process, using a model somewhat similar to what KIVA does. The micro-finance organizations in China are the entities to which outsiders can loan money and the organization matches funding with individuals. The microfinance organizations also determine the loan rate.
The process has a number of challenges. Those who loan will not be repaid in the traditional sense of recouping their money. The loans are repaid to the micro-finance organization but the principle amount is then re-invested so the loans should be considered more as a donation rather than a traditional loan. It is also a challenge to find reputable micro-financing organizations using sound training practices, transparency in lending and solid risk analysis measures. Wokai has, to-date, found about 100 reputable organizations and continues to look for more.
There is also a general lack of a philanthropic culture directed toward those outside the family in China. Donations or giving in the way thought normal in the US is illegal in China but there appears to be some shifts beginning in cultural norms around that philosophy. There is also some hope for banking reforms and that the high demand for credit may encourage opportunities.
As is true in many areas, the greatest poverty is in the rural areas and Read More
Global Washington intern Lindsay Jackson reports on our July 15th event
This month’s Global Social event focused on Central & South Asia, confronting the issues of environment, poverty, education & health. The event consisted of a large variety of representatives from various global development organizations, which included; individual representatives, The National Council for Eurasian & East European Research, EarthCorps, “Journey with an Afghan School” Ayni Education International, Jackson School of International Studies of University of Washington, International Organization of Folk Art, University of Washington (Bothell & Seattle), Health Leadership, Wokai, Seattle International Foundation, and Global Washington.
The event opened up and began with an introduction from Bookda Ghesiar, the Executive Director of Global Washington. She introduced herself and explained what Global Washington was all about, its background and future goals. Prologues then led to the Bookda introducing Ethan Casey, the event’s primary speaker on Pakistan.
Ethan Casey is the most well known for his works & authorship of the book Alive and Well in Pakistan: A Human Journey in a Dangerous Time (2004). Ethan is also a frequent speaker on Pakistan at venues ranging from universities, The Pakistan High Commission in London, and locally around Seattle where he is from. Ethan has continued to use his position as an American traveler and author with 15 years’ exposure to Pakistan to help foster historical and geographic perspectives, human connections, and conversation between Americans and Pakistanis. Ethan gave a brief explanation of how he became so connected and interested in Pakistan through his early travels, he then brought the Pakistani situations alive by reading quotes and passages from Pakistanis that he had come across in regards to the American mistreatment and unawareness of Pakistanis. Ethan’s future plans consist of a second book to be published in 2010 that will be a follow Read More