Glaister: Helping out, one click at a time

Brian Glaister

We’ve all heard the statistics. We know that 840 million people in the world are malnourished. We know that 1.2 billion people live on less than $1 a day. Given the magnitude of the problem, it can be daunting to figure out where to start solving it. And it is hard to see how one person can make a difference when poverty affects so many.

This is where the Oxfam America Click Drive at www.poverty makes a positive impact. is a website that helps raise money for microcredit lenders. Every time someone logs onto the site, sponsors donate 25 cents for small loans to people in impoverished countries from Albania to Zimbabwe. The loans range in value from $25 to $250. While these sums may seem small to you or me, they can mean the difference of eating or going hungry to the people who receive them.

For example, in one of the website’s many success stories, Violet Mutoto was able to change her life and the lives of her family with a small loan from a microcredit lender. Violet is a single mother of four and lives with her children in an 8-foot-by-10-foot room of a two-room house in eastern Uganda. After her husband passed away, Violet had to find a way to support her children. She applied for a $43 microcredit loan to buy supplies and rent the other room of her house to start a store.

Now she sells cooking supplies and medicines and makes $5 to $10 every day in profits. With this extra income she has been able to repay her debt, buy food and school supplies for her children and even send her older children to secondary school.

Microcredit can be an extremely effective tool to help people rise out of poverty. In total, the Click Drive raised over $28,000, with the leading schools of Brandeis and Birmingham Southern raising well over $1,000 each. And all is that as the loans are repaid, that $28,000 will be loaned out again and again, helping more and more people.

This year’s Click Drive is just around the corner. From Feb. 16 until March 26, Villanova students, faculty, staff and friends will be able to log on to, select Villanova University from the list and register two clicks a day from each unique IP address. All it takes is a few seconds every day to log on to the site, but it makes a world of difference to people trying to rise out of poverty.

Global poverty may seem like an insurmountable problem, but it doesn’t have to be. You can make a difference as an individual.

You don’t have to give away all your money or drop out of school and move to Africa. You can change the world for free right in your dorm room. All it takes is one click.