I've blogged extensively about social finance and social lending.
Kiva is different to most social lending though as it's not about Joe and Jane saving for a wedding, but more about Saabir and Saabira seeking a few dollars in a remote village in Pakistan to support their basket-weaving business.
In other words, Kiva is a microfinance social lending service where average folks in developed economies can support and make money out of lending $25 to $50 to poor folks in emerging markets.
But it's quite hard to explain, as I discovered in talking through Kiva with various people.
So Kieran Ball, a Kiva fellow, has written a great blog entry how Kiva works.
As Kieran says: "I decided it would be
great to try and follow one loan through the system from start to
finish, for the benefit of my colleagues who I coaxed into making a
loan, and for myself, and for anyone else who is interested."
It took him three months to do this, and here's the result:
I recommend you watch it, as you will both learn something and be entertained.
Note: if you're not aware, Kieran recommends you watch this in full screen by clicking on
the four arrows in the bottom right-hand corner of the video as you watch it.