02 March 2012

Attack of the (Kiva) Clones!

An advert on Guardian.co.uk this morning reads: "Give a small loan, make a huge difference You can help budding entrepreneurs in developing countries work their own way out of poverty with a small loan. Find out how you can transform lives via lendwithcare.org. In association with Care International UK"

Clicking through to the Care site, we are told that "lendwithcare.org is a revolutionary way for you to help people throughout the developing world transform their future."

Seriously guys.

A - there is nothing revolutionary about directly copying Kiva's business model (they started doing this in 2005).

B - WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE who work in the microfinance industry and apparently have not read or understood "More than Good Intentions" or "Poor Economics" or "Due Diligence"?

Let me summarize for you, from David Roodman, who has just spent the last two years writing the book on the impact of microfinance;
There is not a case for heavy subsidy of these activities; I think less money should go into microcredit.


MJ said...

To be fair, Care were one of the earliest people into microfinance with their village savings and loan scheme in Mali, so you could say that Kiva copied them in some ways. Of course what would really be revolutionary would be for an NGO to advertise something it is doing as not being revolutionary!

rovingbandit said...

That is true but I'm referring specifically to the linking of borrowers to lenders in the West through the internet. Care do deserve a lot of credit for properly evaluating their VSLA programs with IPA. 

John Palmkvistt said...

I hope people don't get the idea that Kiva is the leader in microfinance.   Although wildly popular among small, individual investors, it is a relative newcomer to the scene.  In my opinion, Kiva's representations to investors are false and misleading.  There are plenty of good microfinance entities out there that do the job in a straightforward way.

Stephen Jones said...

Also worth noting that the CARE VSLA programs and the ones by other organisations being evaluated by IPA are predominantly savings groups, where the loans are made from the collective savings of the group rather than any capital lent from an external organisation. So a bit different from this other CARE program and the KIva-style of lending.

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