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Bolivia: Back on the Road With Evo

Reflections: The End of a Divided Germany

Peru: Kiva's Web-based Microfinance Growing Up

Honduras: Standoff at the Embassy

China: Wall Scholar

Afghanistan: A Stolen Election?

Swaziland: The King and the Web

Jailed In Iran, A Reporter's Story

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Peru: Kiva's Web-based Microfinance Growing Up

In 2006, when we first broadcast our story about Kiva's first micro-lending experiment in Uganda, the San Francisco-based nonprofit was already a modest success. The concept was simple: web surfers with a little bit of extra cash could use their credit card to provide microcredit to entrepreneurs in developing countries.

At the time, Kiva had just surpassed $500,000 in loans. This week, Kiva celebrated its fourth birthday, and its growth since our story aired has been nothing short of meteoric. Kiva is closing in on $100 million loaned and expanded its reach to small businesses across the planet.

We thought we'd check in with the company on its anniversary and find out how it's working with locals in a beautiful and remote high Andean outpost in Peru.

In Ayacucho, a nine-hour bone-shaking bus ride from the capital, Lima, Kiva fellow Suzy Marinkovich is seeing first hand how some of those loans are being used. As a Kiva fellow, it's her job to check in with borrowers and blog about their experiences for interested lenders on the Kiva website.

With Kiva's help, local partner FINCA Peru has transformed a former prison in this city, once wrought with violence from Maoist guerrillas, into an artisans' market, bursting with color.

Still, Ayacucho is hard to get to and dirt poor. Over webcam, Marinkovich told us that local artisans struggle to sell their wares, making only about $2 a day. Hardly enough, she says, to support the average family of five. Now, many of these artists are getting together and using the Internet to connect with a global market to sell their work.

Follow an interesting discussion on microfinance and Kiva's role on David Roodman's Microfinance Open Book Blog. Kiva CEO and cofounder Matt Flannery responds to Roodman's recent critique of the company.

REACTIONS

Feliciano Leon - Tucson, Arizona
Most of the middle- and above-income people in the US either are not aware of the existence of poverty in the world, or, if they know about it, they do not care. It is thanks to people such as this young lady, Suzy Marinkovich of KIVA, that these sad and real stories are being disseminated. It is important that people become aware of these problems and do something about it. It is wonderful work that she is doing in Ayacucho. I was born not too far from this beautiful town, and emigrated to the US in the late 1960's. I am willing to help somehow.Thank you.

Audrey Podsnap - Alcubierre, Spain
Good work. Next time I'm there I won't bail out of the bus at Huancayo. Thx

Austin, TX
Wow, Kiva is such an inspirational success story.
The Whole Planet Foundation is doing similar stuff.I know they are microfinanciers of the artisans of Aldea Artisans (www.aldeaartisans.com) which is comprised of about 80 Mayan women in Guatemala who produce scarves.

Mount Barker, Western australia
This was not very interesting. It was very very boring. I will never watch this again even if it was a life or death situation.