social change | December 09, 2012

Jessica Jackley: Helping People Achieve "Superhero Potential" With KIVA [VIDEO]

"Every woman in this room is powerful and every man in this room is powerful too," Jessica Jackley says in a keynote at the One Young World Summit 2012, "[and] we have to be careful because sometimes that power goes unused." This is especially true, she says, if you don't believe in yourself and don't believe in the potential of others. As the co-founder of the micro-loaning website KIVA explains, you can have the best ideas and tools at your disposal—but none of that matters in you don't believe that you have the potential to make a change. It's also important to remember, says Jackley, that everyone you meet has that potential too. For someone to embark on a world-changing mission, they have to have faith in themselves and the people around them.

She says that when she was introduced to a professor who spoke about the poor as people who had dreams and ambitions, rather than only associating those people with stories of sadness and hopelessness, she decided she wanted to try and help. After quitting her job and moving to Africa, Jackley saw first hand that there were many people living in poverty who had great potential but did not have the ability to access the money or tools needed to harness that potential. "I wanted to help everyone else have the access to the resources they need to tell their own story of greatness," she says of her decision to start KIVA. Instead of simply donating money to these people, she decided to create a system where money was loaned to them in small increments to forge a bond between an entrepreneur and a lender who can help them to succeed. She wanted to do something different, and so far, that plan has worked. The New York Times Magazine named KIVA the best idea of 2006, and to date, the site has allowed for over $300 Million dollars in loans to go toward helping those in need lift themselves out of poverty. Jackley closes off her speech by saying that everyone has "superhero potential" and is capable of great things. If we all decide to believe in the potential that everyone on the planet has inside of themm, she says we can make the world a better place for us all.

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international relations | December 06, 2012