The First Kiva Mashups for Microfinance

Kevin Farnham
Feb. 23 2009, 02:29AM EST

A few weeks ago we reported on the release of the Kiva API, which provides access to the Kiva.org global microlending database. Not long after the API's release, blog posts from Bill Zimmerman and the Kiva team report that several developers are already working on Kiva mashups:

  • Connor Boyack and David Miller have created a Kiva WordPress plugin, which enables WordPress users to display badges for Kiva loans using search criteria including gender, geographic region, and economic sector
  • Kiva WordPress Plugin

  • Kiva World Map: This mashup plots the microfinance loans from Kiva lenders using the Google Maps API. Popups show details on the individual loans and borrowers. More at our Kiva World Map profile.
  • Kiva World Map

  • Kiva Alerts: KivaAlerts.com is an alerts application built on the Kiva.org API to let you know when loans of your interest appear on Kiva.org. More at our Kiva Alerts profile.
  • KivaCloud: A word cloud visualization that shows you frequency of popular terms in Kiva microfinance loans. APIs: Kiva. More at our KivaCloud profile.
  • Meanwhile, Erich Morisse is working on a Kiva mashup that diagrams relationships between Kiva lenders and borrowers.
  • kivavisual

Microcredit was pioneered by Muhammad Yunos, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006. Kiva brought the concept of microlending into the Web 2.0 world, opening the door to broad recognition by people worldwide that opportunities exist to assist individuals and organizations in third world countries in starting and expanding businesses and other economic activity. As little as US $25 is sufficient to make a difference for third world entrepreneurs.

Fred Stutzman illustrated the process in his AOL Developer Network article "The Long Tail of Philanthropy":

To illustrate this process, I'll introduce you to a recipient of microcredit, Theresah Alipyah. Theresah is an entrepreneur who lives in Ghana, in a village named Katapo. She sells porridge in Katapo, providing sustenance to her fellow villagers and an income to support her family. I came into contact with Theresah via Kiva, where I found her requesting a loan of $700.00 for working capital. Within days, I was joined by 15 fellow lenders, and we jointly loaned Theresah the money for her business.

theresahkiva

Microlending provides people with an opportunity to make a difference, even if you have only a small amount to spare. Furthermore, microcredit isn't charity, it's an investment. You are lending money to someone who intends to put your money to work and eventually pay you back.

Kiva's new API is off to a fast start with mash-up developers. Clearly, a lot of people are interested in Kiva's approach to microcredit.

Kevin Farnham

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