is a new type of site that allows individuals to make small "micro loans" to entrepenuers in Africa and other Third World countries.
Kiva was started in October and is based in San Francisco started out with one "focus country" Uganda. but now it has several focus countries from Latin America, to eastern Europe, to Africa.
The Entrepreneurs in the third world countries are interviewed by kiva affiliates on the ground and only the ones who seem to be credit worth are put onto the kiva site so people can help to give small loans and finance their business' multiple people can go in on the business supplying at little as $25 with no limit on how much you can fund a business.
The average business asks for funding of about $500 and has the flexibility of paying the money back during a 6 to 12 month time frame. so far over 400,000 dollars have been loaned out by the site and no one has defaulted on a payment. literally thousands of people in third world countries are actually paying back their micro loans. Usually in the micro lending business about 95% of the people pay their money owed. Kiva has had success due to the personal relationship that the lender and the business owner create. when you lend to an entrepreneur you can actually communicate with them via the kiva website. Kiva has thousands of success stories that you can read on their site.
here is what the founder of kiva had to say. "We started Kiva because we saw loans as a very personal and sustainable way to help entrepreneurs across the world," said Matthew Flannery. "When you loan to someone and get paid back, you get proof that a business has succeeded -- and you are more likely to loan again. "
I think this is such a great thing you get to help out someone in another country and you get your money back, and can then help someone else. They just deposit the money into your paypal account whenever the person makes a payment to the micro-lending agency in their own country, I have read a lot of stories where all they needed was $500 to buy a machine and now they can afford to send their kids to school and all sorts of things.