Sunday, 15 November 2009

[creative-radio] Controversy and conversation continue about the transparency of microcredit lending organizations


Controversy and conversation continue about the transparency of
microcredit lending organizations
Confusion on Where Money Lent via Kiva Goes [Free registration may be

Microfinance programs harness Web to connect borrowers and lenders

Kiva is Not Quite What It Seems

Innocuous Changes vs. Grand Designs

Microfinance Gateway [pdf]


Since Muhammad Yunus and the Grameen Bank were jointly awarded the Nobel
Prize in 2006 for their work on microcredit lending, a number of
institutions working on similar issues have received a great deal of
attention and press coverage. One such organization is Kiva, which was
founded in 2005 by Matt and Jessica Flannery. Kiva prides itself on serving
as a link "between small individual lenders and small individual borrowers",
and on their website visitors can select the person they would like to
support. Recently, this personal connection came under question by David
Roodman, a research fellow at the Center for Global Development. In a
lengthy blog post, Roodman questioned the direct one-to-one relationship
between the lender and the borrower, while remaining largely positive about
Kiva's mission. Some commentators have continued to raise the question of
transparency, and in the wake of the news, Kiva amended a statement on their
website to state simply "Kiva connects people through lending to alleviate
poverty." This controversy has not been bad for Kiva, and the president of
Kiva, Premal Shah, commented this week "If anything, it has drawn more
people into the nuance and beauty of this model of microfinance. It's highly
imperfect, but it's like a 3 ½ year-old child: it has a lot of potential."

The first link will take users to an article from this Monday's New York
Times which talks about this recent controversy surrounding Kiva. The second
link leads to an article from the Mercury News that provides additional
background on the nature of microfinance programs and their mission. Moving
on, the third link leads visitors to David Roodman's original blog post
about Kiva. The fourth link will whisk users away to a post on creating a
"real marketplace for development" by Dennis Whittle, the CEO of Global
Giving. The fifth link leads to the Microfinance Gateway homepage. Here
visitors can learn about how microfinance works in different countries
around the world, read papers from their online library, and peruse
announcements from the microfinance industry. The last link leads to the
homepage of Kiva, and it's well worth looking at some of the profiles and
success stories featured here. [KMG]

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