Kiva vs. Transparency
Kiva is a versatile mix of the old and the new. Relatively speaking, it's the old idea of providing entrepreneurs with micro-loans from MFIs, and the new idea of a peer to peer lending platform. Kiva's founders have brought the relevance, ingenuity and the reality of microfinance and its role in poverty alleviation to people who are far removed from it. Not only has Kiva brought this practice to light, it has sensationalized it. While Kiva does not have the resources or - really, people - the motivation, to personally hand deliver a loan from someone in America to a chosen beneficiary, Kiva has an already established platform that will do the job for them.
It's called a microfinance institution, or MFI, or better known as those banks in developing countries that already have experience in delivering and tracking micro-loans because they've been doing it for so long. Why break something that works so well? Faulting Kiva because they have 'deceived' the poor public people of America - who have felt so good about knowing that they loaned $25 to a blooming entrepreneur with kind eyes in Africa - is irrelevant and irresponsible. The fine print is there, and Kiva should be celebrated because they have succeeded in doing what no other journalist or microfinance activist have done. They've made the practice of micro-lending applicable and important to people who do not know what living on a dollar a day means.
The Great Debate can be accessed in full from Kiva's blog.