Kiva's mission is to connect people through lending for the sake of alleviating poverty.
The organization was established by Matt and Jessica Flannery, after an inspiring trip to East Africa that revealed the successes of microfinance. In October 2005 the website launched, becoming the world's first person-to-person microlending website, empowering individuals to lend directly to unique entrepreneurs in the developing world. "Since its birth, Kiva has grown from a small personal project to one of the world's largest microfinance facilitators, connecting entrepreneurs with millions of dollars in loans from tens of thousands of lenders around the world."
How It Works:
- Lenders browse profiles on entrepreneurs in need and choose someone to lend to. When you lend, using PayPal or a credit card, Kiva collects the funds and then passes them along to one of their microfinance partners worldwide.
- Kiva's microfinance partners distribute the loan funds to the selected entrepreneur. Often the partners also provide training and other assistance to maximize the entrepreneur's chance of success.
- The entrepreneurs repay their loans. Repayment and other updates are posted on Kiva and emailed to lenders who wish to receive them.
- When lenders get their money back, they can re-lend to someone else in need, donate their funds to Kiva (to cover operational expenses), or withdraw their funds.
Loans are usually 6 to 12 months.
The site, in addition to providing great information, it also provides visitors with form letters to invite friends to get involved. Plus there's are plenty of banners to spread the word on Kiva, let people know that you're involved, or feature some of Kiva's entrepreneurs. For more information please visit Kiva's website.