Sunday, January 18, 2009
This is a pretty interesting idea- Kiva is a website that allows you to make loans, of small amounts if you like, to specific entrepreneurs in the developing world. This is the first person-to-person microlending website in the world, and it seems to be fairly popular. The way it works is that you scan the profiles and find one that seems interesting to you- for example, Zrawarshah Khan, a farmer in Afghanistan- and then pledge a certain amount, using Paypal, debt or credit. The organization works through local microfinance partners, who seem to distribute the money something like a small business loan; they provide some assistance, and there is a repayment schedule. Also, as this is a U.S. 501(c)3 non-profit organization, I'd imagine that loans are tax-deductable. What's interesting to me is that the system is totally transparent- you can see who needs what, who lent to them, and how much they have repaid. It's interesting to me that so many loans go to Samoa, although that might have to do with the local aid organizations. And I'd have to actually try it out to know how quickly all of this works, or how effectively; but it definitely strikes me as a very clever idea.
Posted by Rufus at 9:41 AM