KIVA – loans that change lives

  • Kiva’s mission is to connect people, through lending, for the sake of alleviating poverty.
  • Kiva empowers individuals to lend to an entrepreneur across the globe. By combining microfinance with the internet, Kiva is creating a global community of people connected through lending … (full text about KIVA).

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About Microfinance: Microfinance is a general term to describe financial services to low-income individuals or to those who do not have access to typical banking services. 

Microfinance is also the idea that low-income individuals are capable of lifting themselves out of poverty if given access to financial services. While some studies indicate that microfinance can play a role in the battle against poverty, it is also recognized that is not always the appropriate method, and that it should never be seen as the only tool for ending poverty … //

… I. Overview – What is Microfinance?

“Microfinance is the supply of loans, savings, and other basic financial services to the poor.” (http://cgap.org)

As these financial services usually involve small amounts of money – small loans, small savings, etc. – the term “microfinance” helps to differentiate these services from those which formal banks provide

Why are they small? Someone who doesn’t have a lot of money isn’t likely to want or be able to take out a $50,000 loan, or be able to open a savings account with an opening balance of $1,000.

It’s easy to imagine poor people don’t need financial services, but when you think about it they are using these services already, although they might look a little different … //

… “The poor rarely access services through the formal financial sector. They address their need for financial services through a variety of financial relationships, mostly informal.” (http://cgap.org)

The History of Modern Microfinance:

Credit unions and lending cooperatives have been around hundreds of years. However, the pioneering of modern microfinance is often credited to Dr. Mohammad Yunus, who began experimenting with lending to poor women in the village of Jobra, Bangladesh during his tenure as a professor of economics at Chittagong University in the 1970s. He would go on to found Grameen Bank in 1983 and win the Nobel Peace Price in 2006. (Global Envision)

Since then, innovation in microfinance has continued and providers of financial services to the poor continue to evolve. Today, the world bank estimates that about 160 million people in developing countries are served by microfinance. (Worldbank).

II. Microfinance Providers … (full long text about Microfinances).

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