Abe Niederhauser came up with the idea for Ads4Africa this past summer because he wanted to find a way to help people now.
“I have always had a desire to help people in need, but I thought it would be something I would do when I was older and wealthier,” said Niederhauser.
According to the organization’s website, Ads4Africa is a search engine powered by Google that uses advertising as a means of funding micro-loans to entrepreneurs in developing countries.
Niederhauser recruited his brother Seth and his friend Travis Washburn to help. Initially they worked on it in the evenings because Seth was going to school full-time and Abe and Washburn were working full-time. Abe was laid off from his job mid-June and although he “was a little shaken up,” he viewed it as an opportunity to focus his attention on Ads4Africa.
“We launched the search engine at the beginning of August and have been excited to see it growing ever since,” said Abe.
Ads4Africa works with an organization called Kiva based out of San Francisco, which connects them with entrepreneurs around the world. Two ways students can help Ads4Africa continue its growth is first by using it as a search engine either as their homepage or by installing the search plug-in that allows them to search right from their browser (works with Firefox and Internet Explorer 8) and second to help spread the word through social networking: the Facebook page is facebook.com/ads4africa.
“The great thing about Ads4Africa is that it enables others to help without having to contribute any money of their own,” said Abe.
Even though Ads4Africa is a new organization, it has raised enough money to help two women in Africa. The first woman is Rita Owusu, 28, who lives in Ghana with her husband and daughter. She runs a small produce market and has used the loan to expand her business. She hopes to bring in enough money to support her family and send her daughter to school.
The second woman is Syson Namanya, 30, who lives in Uganda with her husband and two children. Syson used the loan to help support a small hardware store that she operates.
For more information about Ads4Africa, visit the website at info.ads4africa.org/about-us, and to learn more about Kiva, visit kiva.org/lender/ads4africa.