Kiva and Vittana

A personal interest is the use of much maligned financial capital and financial incentives to effect change.

To that end I have enjoyed engaging with the Kiva and Vittana lending models to small scale economic enterprise and formal education respectively. In short form both aggregate contributions from as little as US$25 per contributor into meaningful sums that allow, in Kiva’s case, borrowers to make home improvements or establish and strengthen retail operations or purchase vehicles or buy more livestock and so on. Vittana aggregates these sums to enable the purchase of formal qualifications through a programme of study, in turn significantly increasing the borrowers’ earning power and consequent benefits.

A small voluntary donation can be made to support the administration of these programmes, and the lender foregoes the interest charged in favour of in-country sponsoring organisations. The capital repaid by the borrowers accumulates until such time it is requested to be repaid to the lender or re-loaned to a new applicant; effectively becoming a perpetual revolving loan over time (assuming no defaults).

Both sites:

  • are relatively new (Kiva began ~2006)
  • provide clean and intuitive websites
  • are simple to use
  • provide good and regularly updated information on how your capital loan is being utilised, the status of the loan etc.
  • use popular social networking technologies, such as FaceBook in particular, to communicate and promote their activities through personal networks.

Kiva has recently released its annual report for the 2011 year. The report reinforces Kiva’s commitment to both transparency and results, and as such is yet another leadership contribution to the emerging social entrepreneurial space.

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