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Kiva is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization headquartered in San Francisco, California, that claims to allow people to lend money via the Internet to low-income entrepreneurs and students in 77 countries. Kiva's mission is "to expand financial access to help underserved communities thrive." They have been accused of deceptive business practices, misleading donors into believing their funds would be used for specific individuals and misrepresenting other aspects of their operations.

Kiva distributes funds that it receives to microfinance institutions, social impact businesses, schools or non-profit organizations and does not generally directly provide funds to specific individuals. These organizations are charged fees by Kiva and borrowers pay interest on most loans.

Kiva is supported by grants, loans, and donations from its users, corporations, and national institutions. Since 2005, Kiva has crowd-funded more than 1.6 million loans, totaling over $1.68 billion, with a repayment rate of 96.3 percent. Over 2 million lenders worldwide use the Kiva platform. Despite its size, independent review by GiveWell failed to find evidence that the organization produces significant social benefit, with at least one partner supposedly vetted by Kiva earning high profits while having a very high recipient drop-out rate. In some cases it appeared to do harm as compared to direct cash transfers through an organization such as GiveDirectly given that it places its recipients into debt, or had diminished effectiveness as it requires considerably higher overhead. ID Ghana is a field partner of Kiva.



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Alena Potapova

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