Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Zidisha Inc: My First Experience With Microfinance

So last week I made my first microloan. Emphasis on the micro. It was only $25, but it's a start- right?

With all the excitement surrounding microfinance lately, I figured it was my turn to try it out. The big guys out there are Kiva or MyC4 that you might have heard about already. Zidisha Inc. is a fairly new organization, but has been described as 'the evolution of microfinance'. As I read more about the organizations out there, I came to support Zidisha even more for the work it's doing.

For starters: How does nonprofit Peer-to-Peer microfinance with Zidisha work?
  • Make an account on the website, and choose the amount you want to loan (via bank transfer or paypal)
  • Read through the list of borrowers that have applied for a loan
  • Choose who you want to loan to, and set the amount and interest rate for the loan (no higher than 6%). Click finish to send the money to them directly.
  • Sit back and relax! The borrower will repay you over time back into your Zidisha account, which you can choose to reinvest in other business owners, or take out as a lump sum payment.
A Zidisha Borrower showing off her business
Help out a small business owner and their family, AND get paid back in the end? I like this.

Why I like Zidisha better:
  • NO ONE who runs Zidisha gets paid. Even the founder is a volunteer. Low costs=more money to the people who need them
  • There is no institution acting as middleman (who usually will take a cut of the loans they distribute)
  • You can interact with the borrowers online: ask questions, leave comments, and give feedback about your borrowers. Borrowers will often post updates, send pictures, and let everyone know how they are doing. Very cool.
I'll try to blog about my experiences after I get repaid and reflect on my experiences as a lender once again. In the meantime, you should probably check out their website!


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