Kiva Microfinance: Ethically and Efficiently Reducing Poverty One Loan at a Time

Open Access
St.Clair, Noelle
Area of Honors:
Bachelor of Arts
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Bee Yan Roberts, Thesis Supervisor
  • David Shapiro, Honors Advisor
  • Vincent M Colapietro, Honors Advisor
  • microfinance
  • ethics
  • kiva
  • poverty
This thesis will demonstrate why microfinance is an efficient and ethical solution to global poverty reduction. The organization Kiva, which describes itself as “the world's first person-to-person micro-lending website, empowering individuals to lend directly to unique entrepreneurs around the globe,” has developed methods that have advanced and expanded upon the idea of microfinance. Their efforts have made it possible for people from all walks of life to become involved with the global microfinance initiative. This thesis will examine the company Kiva and demonstrate why giving small loans to needy “entrepreneurs” is more efficient than charitable contributions. Positive effects on the lender, loan recipient, family and community of the loan recipient, and the global economy will be discussed. It will also be demonstrated why Kiva (or microfinance in general) will have a stronger impact on poverty reduction when used in combination with policy reform and other macro-level development efforts. Ethical implications of poverty and inequality in today's society will also be discussed.