Merriam-Webster lists four different definitions of finance, of which one is: “the system that includes the circulation of money, the granting of credit, the making of investments, and the provision of banking facilities”. Microfinance is simply finance on a very small scale that allows for inclusion of people whose needs might not otherwise be met by typical finance institutions. Very often, microfinance is geared towards low-income individuals. It makes possible small business growth and saving for school, among other things.
Is it perfect at eliminating poverty? No, unfortunately, no system is perfect. Is it pretty darn good? Absolutely. You can do your own research. A good place to start might be here:
Kiva is a bit like a matchmaker: they connect people who want eliminate poverty to microfinance organizations working to do just that. They’ve worked long and hard to come up with just the right words to explain what they do, so I’ve included that below.
“We envision a world where all people – even in the most remote areas of the globe – hold the power to create opportunity for themselves and others.
We believe providing safe, affordable access to capital to those in need helps people create better lives for themselves and their families.
How we do it
Making a loan on Kiva is so simple that you may not realize how much work goes on behind the scenes.
Kiva works with microfinance institutions on five continents to provide loans to people without access to traditional banking systems. One hundred percent of your loan is sent to these microfinance institutions, which we call Field Partners, who administer the loans in the field.
Kiva relies on a world wide network of over 450 volunteers who work with our Field Partners, edit and translate borrower stories, and ensure the smooth operation of countless other Kiva programs.
Learn more about how it works.
How we’re funded
100% of every dollar you lend on Kiva goes directly towards funding loans; Kiva does not take a cut. Furthermore, Kiva does not charge interest to our Field Partners, who administer the loans.
Kiva is primarily funded through the support of lenders making optional donations. We also raise funds through grants, corporate sponsors, and foundations.
We are incredibly thankful for the support that has enabled us to do the work that has touched the lives of so many people.