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Zidisha Inc.

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Nonprofit Overview

Mission: Zidisha is a revolutionary nonprofit that lets ordinary web users make microloans to economically marginalized entrepreneurs around the world. The loans allow the individuals to start small businesses to provide higher income for their families, and once repaid the loan funds are returned to lenders who may in turn fund new individuals of their choice. What makes Zidisha unique is that there are no intermediaries. The borrowers themselves post their loan applications and communicate directly with lenders as their business investments grow. Linking entrepreneurs directly with the international peer-to-peer lending market gives them the chance to source business growth capital far more easily and affordably than was previously possible in many developing countries.

Programs: 15000 individual business ventures financed; over $3 million in loans raised; over 20,000 members, expanding our service to a total of nine countries

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This organization's nonprofit status may have been revoked or it may have merged with another organization or ceased operations.

Community Stories

76 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 1

Beware Investors in Zidisha!!!
Zidisha is not regulated or has a license which can be explained, however they don't produce any audited financial statements. Therefore no oversight of their finances. This is a big red flag! Even bigger because they have no obligation to return lenders funds ("Zidisha makes no guarantee or representation that funds lent through its website will be repaid to lenders, regardless of whether the loans financed with lender funds are repaid to Zidisha. Any cash payouts are promotional gifts offered solely at Zidisha's discretion." https://www.zidisha.org/terms-of-use). This is because lenders funds do not belong to the lenders but legally are the property of Zidisha.

The Members Loan Fund is completely shrouded in mystery - no details ever disclosed of this fund. Again since there are no audited financial statements how do we know what is happening to this fund?

Lenders beware!!!
Their story of cutting out the middle-man and connecting borrowers with lenders directly is brilliant, however the organization behind it cannot be trusted and is ripe to end up in a major scandal at some point. Then lenders and borrowers will have nothing and the enormous goodwill will be shattered. I have reached out to the organization with my concerns but have been ignored.

McRichies Kwaku A.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Zidisha has really helped me in various ways, their constant support to Africans are enormous.

Juliet A.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The journey has been amazing. From 2013, I have enjoyed no interest loans from Zidisha; from payment of fees for my 1st degree to starting my own business. Thanks to all lenders and the team who have helped make life smooth. There is no way I could have accessed such amounts from financial institutions in my country.

Previous Stories
1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Am so thankful to zidisha for the life changing opportunities. I started my degree programme without knowing where I will get financial assistance but thanks to this team, I have successfully completed my degree without financial constraints.
Smiling!!!...and that's what Team Zidisha has made myself and many other beneficiaries of this amazing idea.
Blessings!!!

addai1984

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I can boldly say zidisha is the number one Money lender in the world due to their Works

Previous Stories

Client Served

Rating: 5

Thank you lenders for supporting my project I will say big thank you all with your loan .things have really changed in my life so God bless you all for your support and I hope with your support I can achieve my goal hoping to get your support again

1 Wilfred N.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is one of the best nonprofit organization that has reached out to many needy people. Personally, it has helped me to support my business by providing me with interests free loans that I continually request and payback whenever I have a need. From this organization, my kids are able to go to school through the support I ve got by uplifting my business, not me alone but to thousands of people across the world. Zidisha is God sent and whoever is able to donate to this organization is doing a noble Task. I am personally a volunteer mentor to around 50 members and they are all grateful of this great organization. Long live zidisha!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

It have been great encounter with Zidisha micro-finance which is more than a family and a parent to me.Its through zidisha I bought a fridge,bought sewing machines ,started an mpesa plus now I have started a retail shop .To me I thank God for the brilliant minds that came up with Zidisha which is a community support.Julia Kurnia may the Lord God bless you and your family and the entire zidisha team for your great work.To our lenders may God bless you and increase your territories.You are great support in our lives.Long live zidisha.

1 Baya M.

Client Served

Rating: 5

ZIDISHA
That is where the rags to riches true stories come from.
I was very frustrated with life one year ago.
Did not know whete the next meal would come from.
Then I was invited to Zidisha and now my family is assured of every next meal.
When I see their smiles,I always pray for the Zidisha lenders,
May GOD bless them and reward them abundantly.

1 jimjim23

Volunteer

Rating: 5

For along time i did not have a source of capital to expand my business since i had no ability to get a loan from a bank cosidering the security required by banking instituitions for one to obtain a loan.
Even if i was qualified for a bank loan it would be so difficult for me to pay the loan due to high interest rates and short payment durations set by banks.
Zidisha offers me a zero interest loan which i repay at my own pace and adjustable installments of my choice. It has really helped me grow, infact i have so much hope in life out of Zidisha.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I had some difficulties financially wise.my business was really strungling but when I came to know about zidisha.it was like God had just answered my prayer.everything changed for the better and my family standard too changed.thank you so much Zidisha and may God guild and bless our generous lenders always .remember blessed is the hand that give out than the one which receive it

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Thanks to Zidisha family at large, it came in at my rescue when I was frustrated in my horticulture business due to lack of funds. The help I received time and again has greatly improved my life, the life of my family and the neighbours as well. That's why I choose to volunteer and help reach out to help other benefit from Zidisha. May God bless the entire community and the founder. I will remain committed to see the vision fulfilled.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Am Paul Mutie from Nairobi, Kenya. It is now three years and counting since i joined Zidisha Inc. and all i can say is, it is amongest the best decision i have ever made in my life. Here in my country qualifing for credit is almost imposible and especially for youths since we do not own properties which can qualify as security for one to get a loan. Thanks to Zidisha they came with simple and effective process that enabled youths and low class income earners aquire credit at almost zero interest rates. Since their intervation to the Kenyan market they have touched and change many lives and the most amazing thing is that they have made the local financial instutions realise that young people can be trusted with finances even without security. Thanks Zidisha team and all the lenders for the good work you are doing and may the almighty God continue showering you with more blessings!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Zidisha inc have helped me in financing my poultry business. My experience with zidisha has been an eye opener since i never knew how to raise enough capital to boost my business but when i learned about them, i was able to get finances for my business. Currently i am running on of the successful poultry business courtesy of zidisha.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am a graduate who refused to take up employment for the sake of my fellow youths who are struggling to put food on the table because of lack of employment. I decided to struggle with them and God willing, create employment for most of them. However, i did not have adequate capital. Zidisha has been helping me through its lenders to achive my dream of one day, creating employment for our youths, I love Zidisha for this! hail Zidisha!

Client Served

Rating: 5

Zidisha funding has contributed immensely to my business and hence my family. Had it not been the support of Zidisha, my business would have collapsed!
Repayments are very flexible and accessing loan is without bureaucracies and hustle. Thanks to all our lenders.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Zidisha has lifted me from nothing to where i am through their accessible loan.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

With zidisha I have been able to expand my farming business. I have also bought a land which will be use to construct house for my children. With zidisha my wife business has also expand. Thanks to zidisha

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Am speechless. The cooperation, the networking, the organization, the respect, the speed, the terms, the conditions, the lenders, the beneficiaries, the volunteer mentors, the loans.... and many more are outstanding to say the least. Spread this wonder of the world to every one in need. Be blessed.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Im a business-minded young man very hardworking, honest and a graduate from the university of ghana. Im from a small village in Asunafo South district in ghana called Kukuom. I am the seventh born of my parents out of ten siblings. All my siblings leave together in one compound house with me and our parents. Though i enjoy most outdoor games, i cannot play due to my physically challanged condition. I run a stationary shop in my village which I use the profit in feeding poor and needy children in the community, my family as well as the sick to provide healthcare. I want to expand my business so that my income will raise. This will enable me in continuing helping the poor and needy in my community. I need the help of good people like you. Lending a helping hand to me in a form of loan simply means you are helping a large family, the less privilege.

I was able to raised the initial capital from minor jobs I did while I was in school. I have been in business for the past two years up till now.I had a massive growth of my business when Zidisha lend me a helping hand loan for the first time to purchase a Lesser HP Printer and furnitures respectively which I paid up successfully. Many client from far distances now visits my shop for printing. Thanks a lot Zidisha for coming into the lives of peoples like me who almost lost hope for a better tomorrow. It is my hope that Zidisha should stay forever. Dear all, please help Zidisha by lending a little you can to support the organization.

Thehighpriest A.

Client Served

Rating: 5

at first when i heard about zidisha i taught it was some kind of internet game or internet fraud so i didnt like to participate,but later through testimonies from friends and neighbours i realized it was a real thing, so i took my time to read more about zidisha and came to think seriously about it and i believed in it, since last year that i joined zidisha i am able to boost my work,my living and also have introduced many people into it who are also benefiting nicely.So i hav e took it upon myself spreading it to the needy ones and the poor ones to join and anyone who joins is also talking about it.

Client Served

Rating: 5

zidisha has been of great help to me in my business. My business has greatly grown i have seen great change, i have met deadlines of delivery of orders i had for stationary and books to schools which give me orders, i have added stock to my business, i have also been able to buy a piece of land with Zidisha loan.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am Sarfo Frimpong Kwasi. I joined Zidisha about two years ago. I was given a loan with a very low interest and flexible mode of payments. The loan s I received from Zidisha has helped me expand my cashew farm from two hectares to five. I have invited about ten people who have also been blessed through Zidisha. I am currently sponsoring the education of three children including a hearing impaired girl.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My name is Augustine Kwame Ansah. I live in Sunyani in the Brong Ahafo Region of Ghana. I love Zidisha so much, because, Zidisha helped me with my fitness centre in the Sunyani. It also helped me taking care of my family. Thank you.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Please, I am currently a member at Zidisha. Truly, Zidisha really helped me with my school of (CATFEC) project since the beginning of last year 2015. In the beginning, I got a free land from the elders of Nkosookrom in the Sunyani Municipality to establish a new school. I started with a wooden structure, and later on heard Zidisha from a good friend of mine. So I also became a member, and the last loan I received from Zidisha is $2,624. The loan I usually receive from Zidisha helped and bought a trips of a sand, chippings and a lot of cement. Gradually, my school is becoming a block room through Zidisha support. As I am speaking now, the project is well ongoing. I have attached some photos of my school project. Thank you.

Stephen Yeboah
Ghana

papafavour

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am 30 years old, married with two children Favour Blessing and Trevor Mark,
Professionally I am a graphic designer, web developer, photographer. I have always dreamed of becoming an entrepreneur at a tender age and run my own business, I finished my high school with a very good grade joined Nairobits school of digital design and graduated with Diploma in journalism and media studies from Regional Institute Of Business Studies, I joined Advertising and Marketing sector working in different Design Agencies and productions studios gaining valuable skill and market experience before venturing into private practice.
I love soccer, skating, basketball, traveling and learning new culture from different part of the nation and am ardent fan of short film documentaries.
My main focus is to grow my business into a big brand both local and international and expand my service to a wider clientele base.

Zidisha Has really Changed My life its a great initiative that i joined and i have No regrets through the organization i have fulfilled Some of my goals in life,its a noble idea You do not need to have collateral assets, a bank account, guarantors, or a salaried job to raise a loan.
that,s one thing that has help Zidisha grow both local and International the lend rates are and cost is usually far lower than bank loans, and you choose your own repayment schedule.
Right Now my photography business has grow thanks to Zidisha i can support my familly am a living testimony.

Oscar Alochi

Client Served

Rating: 4

i did not know about zidisha until when my business was about to collapse.I had tried to get capital from the local bank without succes. The high interest rates of the local banks worsened the situation plus their hidden additional charges.When i heard about zidisha ,first i doubted due to their low costs for accessing the loan.I read the terms and believed that zidisha is best for any business growth.They offer lowest financing cost in Kenya.I really thanks Zidisha.I have also recommended my friends who also have given a positive feedback on zidisha have led to empowerment of young entrepreneurs thus eradicating poverty and creating employment to the people

Client Served

Rating: 5

Thanks very much for the loan, it has helped me pay my semester fees.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Zidisha has helped me boost my business, I do cereals business, I used to buy beans at small quantities and sell then rush to the market to buy more and that way my profit was reduced because of using transport more often, I had to do that due to lack of capital.
After getting my second Zidisha loan i can buy beans in bags and sell in retail or in bags. I am so grateful to Zidisha for the great help.

Second thing is that in Zidisha you get a loan without hassling with paper work looking for guarantors, security and following up everyday utilizing alot of time.

Aayel

Client Served

Rating: 5

Zidisha has been a helping hand to me, my family and
the people around me over the years.
upon being a volunteer mentor to new people to this noble network
I have been able to collage new and needy entrepreneurs to join this
happy family which is now earning them for their entire families and beyond.
Though being a volunteer mentor earns me nothing but it help increase
my credit limit daily.
I assure you that, joining this noble family is the gateway for realizing
your dream of becoming a great entrepreneur.
long live ZIDISHA!!
Thank you for making the best choice.
welcome.

1 bonnavis

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I must admit that zidisha has brought success to my life and lives of many other people in Kenya. Personally, I was first introduced to Zidisha by a friend one year ago. Since then, my life has been transformed greatly. I used to do freelancing, which I did from the house. By then I used a desktop, with power blackouts in Nairobi, doing SEO jobs was hell for me because the job involves dealing with deadlines. However, with my first loan from Zidisha I managed to buy a laptop and I was able to do my work smoothly. I later started offering printing services and other internet services for my neighbors. From this I was able to save money, which I later used to open a small shop where I sold simple household electronics, such as bulbs, cables, padlocks, batteries and other household items. Within that year, I was able to secure a second loan from Zidisha, with which I started Mpesa services. With Mpesa, I was able to increase inventory for my electronics shop.
I am now able to pay my bills comfortably, pay fees for my ten year old daughter with ease. I am now planning how to pay my Higher Educational Loan of 250, 000 kenyan shillings, which I was lend money by the government for my college studies. With Zidisha I am sure I will fend for my family as well as clear my debts.
I also look forward to succeeding in business, and I envisage employing two or three people so as to help reduce unemployment and poverty levels in Kenya.
Sincerely speaking, Zidisha has transformed my life.
Vivez Zidisha!!

Client Served

Rating: 5

Hi i am a teambuilding and camping facilitator from kenya. Zidisha Inc. has really been of great help to me. Their communication and problem solving is top notch. My business is really growing. It is not where i want it to be but i can witness it is far much ahead from where it used to be. Through the profits i have made with their loans, I have been able to buy more camping equipments, employed two casual staff and I am soon moving from being freelance business person to having an office that i am in the process of building. The greatest joy is that i will not be paying anyone rent anymore.
I will continue using their services. I cant compare it to what the local banks are offering.

Papaa J.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Zidisha has been the best nonprofit organization i hav known that is giving the best service ever.... i have grown to the next level thanx to zidisha.

Its been a month since i received the loan.. I thank you lenders so much and the Zidisha community for the great help you are giving to us...I did a lot with the money. I moved from first floor to ground floor, where i now have a big space. i added more services, Mpesa, online services, printing, photocopy and passport photos. and i used the other room for Barber shop, manicure, pedicure, and ear piercing. I added my saving to the 696 USD to do this much....You realy are traansforming lives. THANK YOU

Client Served

Rating: 5

Hi All
My name is Joseph Mwangi and I joined Zidisha without knowing exactly how it works. I have enjoyed each and every moment I have been a member. My business has grown using the funds/loans I have gotten from this great organization. I would recommend any willing, faithful person to join.
Many thanks to Zidisha founders for coming up with this very noble idea which has touched many lives especially in my country, Kenya. I will forever cherish Zidisha.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am a businessman in Kenya and I joined Zidisha a little over two years ago. The main purpose of joining this organization was to get business loans at a reasonable interest which I could not get locally. I managed to get my first loan of about USD 100 within two weeks. Though the amount was modest, it marked my entry point into the organization and I also spread the word around to family and friends who joined so as to get the low interest credit.

I managed to clear the first loan within 5 weeks and I got a much bigger second loan and I was able to buy more machines for my ICT business. In the meantime, the people that I invited started getting loans and inviting more people as the news spread like bush-fire.

My business and the quality of life I have today would definitely not be possible without the credit facility that I have been given by Zidisha. The same can be said by the very many people whom I know as beneficiaries of this program. There are children who would have missed their secondary and college education if it was not for Zidisha.

I and many other borrowers have pegged their growth forecast on the credit that they expect to continue getting from Zidisha as they find it as very reliable partner in their business.

Borrower

David

Isaiah G.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Zidisha have really boosted our online freelancing business in terms of low cost financing.We really appreciate their support.

McRichies A.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I joined Zidisha in 2015 and it has helped me a lot. I am currently working on my building project, which I intend renting out after it is completed. With out Zidisha, I couldn't have gotten this far.

Abdul A.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Dear grateful Lenders, I am eternally grateful for everything you do for me. Thank you so much for using your generous and perfect guidance to support me and my business, as well. Things was very hard for me, but since I met you with your generosity, I am able to expand my repairing and training business. In previous days, I was managing only the repairing, but now people are so willing to have a good training from me. Because, there is no any repairing training centre in my town. Since this business became so profitable, it created a good job for me, and that also is becoming so interesting for others to learn, from me. So, when I receive this loan, I will use part of it to buy a training tools for the trainers. I hope this loan would be fully funded soon. Thank you for supporting me.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Zidisha has been helpful to me in so many ways. With the help I get from zidisha, now my education is moving on smoothly with less difficulty when it comes to financial aspect.

makongo

Client Served

Rating: 5

Zidisha it has been of great help and support to me and my family,since I joined Zidisha 2013 my family and business life changed completely to the best,I have been able to meet my family needs and I can recommend Zidisha to anyone who wants his or her business to grow,kudos Zidisha and my prayers and thirst is many lenders can consider being a part of Zidisha success

EVANS  OMARI

Client Served

Rating: 5

Great lenders, you have really made me proud. I really miss words to describe and explain how you have transformed my life.
I bought 6 computers with the loan amount.
The loan came at a time when schools, colleges and universities are on holiday and therefore am receiving many clients hence alot of profit.
Per session am able to host 10 customers at a minimum of kh10 and ksh50 per hour.
am using the increased profit to support my wife on her business and also purchase more computer consumables for my business.
Currently we are experiencing alot of rains and no many activities going on.
attached are photos of a printer,camera and the new arrangement of my IT centre courtesy of zidisha. Also attached is a sample of photos that I take at my photo studio.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I consider Zidisha the best nonprofit because it is the only organization that I have met that offers extremely cheap loans. It does not charge interest on loans. The overall cost of loan according to my experience is the lowest in the market. Another great benefit of this organization is flexibility. Borrowers can pay as low as approximately 1 USD per week, meaning people have control over the repayment period and size of each installment. There is no charge for changing the weekly repayment amount. Besides, there is no requirement for collateral. Due to these features, Zidisha is the best opportunity for borrowers who cannot approach the traditional lending institutions, but are able to develop their profile overtime to increase their credit limits and access substantial amounts of loan. By Bernard (Client)

Jay_48

Client Served

Rating: 5

Zidisha has completely turned my life 180 degrees for the better! I never imagined I could have quick accessible loans that are payable at the convenient of my phone and a pace which is desirable to my circumstances. The lenders are very good and am sure Zidisha is here to stay.

My life, family and business have all improved to levels I never thought of before joining Zidisha. Thank you Zidisha Team and all the lenders.

To my fellow borrowers, please let us use the loans we get to the appropriate use and repay on time so that others can benefit like us. Love you ALL!!!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a volunteer in Kenya, I have been assigned with over thirty Individuals who successfully got small loans. Most of the applicants use the money to start businesses or boost stock in their existing business. When I look how they are before being given the loan I can say that their standard of living has improved and they are very grateful to the lenders who have made a big impact in their life.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I will forever be gratedlful to this organization they helped me expand my business and now I have a higher turn over and great profit margin

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This has helped me grow my business from the loans they offer that are affordable with a very flexible repayment plan.

1

Donor

Rating: 1

I started lending via Zidisha a couple of years ago. At first, I was content with the way the organization operated. As a former KIVA lender, I understood the risk of undertaking these loans and did not enter into them as a means to make money, but to help people. So, if some folks fell behind or life happened and they couldn't pay the entire balance back, I was fine with that. I rarely set the interest rate above zero on my loans as I was not interested in making life more difficult for people who needed help. All was fine for a while, then something happened with the way the borrowers were vetted or the way the community volunteers were selected (never did figure it out), but suddenly many of my borrowers either made one payment and disappeared, or never made a payment at all. Frankly, it felt and looked like con artists had slipped into the borrower mix and were taking on loans they had no intention of paying back. After repeatedly being stiffed, I gave up on micro-lending all together, stopped making new loans with Zidisha and moved on to other charities. I did, however, keep getting small payments from the few legitimate borrowers who were left.

After poking around on the Zidisha website one day, I realized that I needed to make sure to keep an eye on where my repayments were going, as the site rules had changed without notice and were preset to take any repayments and reinvest them without my knowledge. Since I felt that I could no longer trust that folks in legitimate need would get my repayments, I quickly reset that option. Now, I make sure I check into the site every month to manually transfer any new repayment funds out of Zidisha.

Today, I made my monthly check only to discover that they've made yet another change to the site, Now there is no way to see the status of your outstanding loans and/or the amount still due. They have now removed the "Your Loans" page that showed each loan you made, the balance due remaining, and other details. Now all you have access to is the "Your Impact" page that shows each borrower and the overall percentage they have repaid, but no details as to how much you loaned and/or how much of your loan is outstanding. The information is generic and pretty useless. I checked the site's Forum and found several entries from folks who were confused by this change as well. Zidisha's explanation is that they felt the "Your Loans" page made them look less like a philanthropic organization and more like lenders. This is, in my opinion, utter nonsense.

I don't care that some deserving folks couldn't make their payments—it’s a charity, for crying out loud. I care that Zidisha has a pattern of changing their policies and procedures without notice to take advantage of the very people who support their work. I care that the poor repayment rate caused by poor vetting, poor field management or whatever by Zidisha, is being obfuscated by tweaking the web-site records to keep lenders in the dark as to the success or failure of their contributions. This is not hurting me or other lenders. This is not making Zidisha look like some super hero philanthropic organization. This is hurting people who need help.

Comments ( 1 )

profile

ZidishaManager 05/31/2016

Dear Writer, I'm Julia Kurnia, the director of Zidisha, and I'd like to respond to your comment. The repayment rate for all Zidisha loans is published here: https://www.zidisha.org/statistics. For loans disbursed in the past year, 78% are already repaid or repaying on time. The loans that are not repaid on time are refundable to lenders from our Members Loan Fund. You may find more information about how this works here: https://www.zidisha.org/faq#faq-8 We did send a notice to all lenders, at their registered email address, of the change to relend repayments of inactive accounts by default. We post a prominent notice of this default when new lenders sign up, and notify lenders again of this default by email upon signup and before activating relending for inactive accounts. When we do activate relending, we display in lenders' accounts an invitation to email us to request removal of the automated loans, in the event that it is not what the lender intended. We are no longer able to display financial earnings information in the Your Loans / My Impact page for the reasons, legal and other, explained here: http://forum.zidisha.org/threads/new-your-impact-page.4108/ However, the same information regarding on-time repayment performance, transactions made from the account, full cost paid by the borrower, and other transaction and loan information continues to be available in the transaction history and in each loan profile page. I'd be happy to discuss further; please feel free to contact me at julia(at)zidisha.org.

1

Donor

Rating: 1

I signed up to Zidisha a few years ago as an alternative to Kiva. I liked the format and being able to lend without charging people high interest rates that's common in microfinance. I've since become very unhappy with my experience with Zidisha.

My first issue was with how the website was geared to relend any money you've been paid back. It is automatically set to relend your money in small increments. I found all the money I'd been repaid on my first few loans had been relent out into 15+ small $1 loans, before I realized it was set-up to do this.

My account was considered 'inactive' and stuck on the setting to automatically relend out any positive balance. Once I was able to reactivate my account (if I recall right, I had to lend out more money to do this), I found I could reset Zidisha to not relend my money out. But it put a short time frame on this period (a few months), after which, it'd start lending any positive balance back out in small amounts.

I have to sign in every few months to withdraw my balance via Paypal and renew this 'do not relend' period. This is quite frustrating.

Many of these small loans Zidisha made on my behalf haven't been paid back and seem to have been lent out to some not so reputable looking loan requests. I thought I'd have more autonomy to choose who my loans went to.

I've currently got around half of what I originally lent outstanding (I think - read below). It's coming in at a few dollars every month.

They used to show you how much you'd lent out to who on a "Your Loans' page. Now, that page is gone, and they've said they're now focusing on how Zidisha is a philanthropy and not a financial investment site.

I have no idea how many individual outstanding loans I currently have, or to whom. They've removed access to that information. Apparently, to Zidisha, philanthropy is mutually exclusive with transparency.

I never viewed Zidisha as an opportunity to make financial gains. I expected to take some losses, perhaps some very significant ones. What I didn't expect is how Zidisha takes control away from me as a lender and hides information on the money I have lent.

As a lender, I expect transparency and respect from the organizations I work with. I don't feel that Zidisha has provided that.

4

Donor

Rating: 1

I can only echo the words about this being more a charity.....although perhaps not one helping the people you intended to.

A few years ago I read about p2p lending (as an investment) and then about microfinancing. I was intrigued by the idea and though sites such as zidisha were great.

I added a little to three sites : zidisha, kiva and lendwithcare. Out of all of them zidisha was my favourite because of the low fees (on both sides) and the fact your load went where it said - not into some big pot with faces/stories giving a false impression of direct allocation.

After trialling for a short while (not long enough) I added more to zidisha since there were less fees to get my GBP funds in and I could help who I chose.

I eventually noticed auto-lending - I set it up with a low amount and sorted by risk...I think it originally auto allocated a chunk of money. More recently I see the minimum amount auto lent has increased which seems designed to drain any balance you may have. The only way I knew to prevent this "feature" was to make a small loan every so often to reset the countdown clock.

So - why did I want a balance rather then relend? Simple - a great number of loans seemed fraudulent. I know people can become ill and situations change - I know who & why I aimed to help in the first place.....but there were just too many. With the auto lending and probably with me getting carried away in the beginning I have seen a 42% loss from the initial. I have taken out $1200 and have about $200 in zidisha. Frankly I feel this money can be better utilised on another site. lendwithcare lost just 4.04% and kiva 11.48%

5

Donor

Rating: 3

This is a non-profit, in fact more a charity, and it is crucial to keep that in mind if lending through this platform. One should not expect to retain the capital placed into the system. I have seen about 30% of the money I have put in, over the past two years, disappear - sometimes with an explanation from the borrower or zidisha volunteers, but often without any reasons provided. I have also encountered many enthusiastic, hard working borrowers who seem to make excellent use of the loans they receive. It's a mixed bag - with Zidisha, you have to expect bad lending experiences with the good.

9

Donor

Rating: 1

I was hopeful about the prospects of this funding platform, but the losses to the lender are too great. Out of $825 I have uploaded over several years, I only hope to get back about 55% or less of the principal. Also there are some unscrupulous practices at Zidisha occurring now where they switch your account to "auto-lending" thereby draining your account every 24 hours according to some default preferences that I had never authorized. I was never notified of a change in their terms and this new feature was activated without my knowledge and money started leaving my account. The founder refuses to correct the situation and removes posts that are contrary to her "terms" on the member forum pages so that no one else can be warned about these settings. I can't recommend this Nonprofit and encourage you to stay away.

Comments ( 1 )

profile

ZidishaManager 03/26/2015

I'm Julia Kurnia, the director of Zidisha, and would like to add our perspective on this review. In December last year, we modified our website to relend unused repayments that had been credited to the accounts of inactive lenders. All lenders were sent an email notification of the change, and it is also described in our terms of use, FAQ, and lending account pages. We send an email notification to inactive lenders ten days before relending funds on their behalf. Finally, we offer all lenders the option to undo loans made on their behalf if they desire to withdraw or lend the funds themselves. We do reserve the right to remove posts in our forum, but only do so when they violate our published forum guidelines.

10 Jammy L.

Donor

Rating: 1

Zidisha is a great concept, but for these few years it's been in business it's still bad execution.

First, there are still a lot of crooks in the community. A lot of borrowers planning to take the loan and then walk away. This problem has been improved over the past few years, and we know we can never 100% eliminate these crooks. So this is fine.

However, the biggest problem is, as the lender, you cannot, and I mean CANNOT, make any accusation on borrowers, even if it's crystal clear the borrower cheated. I had borrowers who just took the money, and then the next day disappeared with $0 repaid, and after a few weeks the loan defaulted. Even in this situation if you accuse the borrower, according to Zidisha you are making "unproven accusation that hurts the borrower and community", and the worst case is they will close your account right away (happened to me).

Lender-borrower relationship is suppose to be equal and win-win relationships. Unfortunately Zidisha DOES NOT understand this; they side with the borrowers and treat lenders as second-class citizens. If you think you will be respected for being charitable by taking ALL the financial risks, and charging an absurdly low interest rate in order to help borrower, THINK AGAIN. Zidisha does NOT respect lenders. For you, you filthy lenders live in developed world and should be happy. It is your honor to get conned by people from developing nations and DON'T YOU DARE VOICE UP AND POINT OUT THE FACTS.

Comments ( 1 )

profile

ZidishaManager 03/26/2015

I'm Julia Kurnia, the director of Zidisha, and would like to comment on this review. We closed the account of this lender (and refunded all the payments he had made to our organization) because he posted unproven accusations of theft on the public profile pages of borrowers who had fallen behind on their payments. This violates our terms of use because such accusations can permanently damage the reputations of borrowers, who often fall behind on payments not because of dishonesty but because of hardship or illness.

1 bapm123

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Microfinance is one of the most useful ways in which people in the developed world can help those in developing countries. Of all of the microfinance organizations that I know, Zidisha is unique. It directly links lenders like me, to borrowers in Kenya, Ghana, and other countries. I can lend as much or as little as I like, I can request reasonable interest if I want, and I can (and do) directly communicate with the borrowers. I have several borrowers to whom I have made 2 or 3 or 4 loans over the years, as I have seen their businesses grow, seen them offer employment to others, seen them working hard to succeed. The personal link, and the fact that there is no middleman, makes Zidisha terrific.

Previous Stories
4

Donor

Rating: 5

Zidisha is a powerful and effective business model. The amount of interaction between lender and borrower is gratifying, and allows a real human face to be put on a microcredit loan. The fact that borrowing rates are very low (in comparison to other microcredit sites) means that more profit is made by the borrower, loans are paid back more quickly, and there is more benefit where it is needed. Of all of the dozen or so microcredit websites that I have used, Zidisha is the one that impresses me most.

Jo__21

Client Served

Rating: 5

Zidisha is a single place that a struggling individual can find affordable and dignified financial aid. Zidisha gives everyone a chance to prove his honesty and trustworthy to the world!

1 Dickson W.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

great staff it will assist the entrepreneurs it is a wonderful experience to connect with zidisha

3

Donor

Rating: 5

I was pointed towards microfinance a few years ago as an alternative to charity donation - more sustainable, more interaction, not simply pouring pounds (I am British) down the drain. It was about the time of the shake up in microfinance and people were realising that sites like Kiva took a significant cut along the way.

I came across Zidisha in Jan 2012 via a websearch and it was very well reviewed. I find it very rewarding as it is very explicit about how it works and you decide exactly who you support - it's a direct line to the real people trying to make a living in developing countries. To be honest, I don't worry too much about whether I gain or loose money as I see it as a "leveraged" charity donation. I don't look for a significant return but there is a 2-3% default rate that I loosely try to offset and overall I think I'm up slightly.

This is a great organisation. I check it every now and again but I fully expect to donate through it in the medium to long term.

2

Donor

Rating: 5

Zidisha is a microfinance organization that allows lenders to loan directly to borrowers at reasonable interest rates, plus a borrower transaction fee. The borrower sets the rate ceiling, not Zidisha or another third party organization or Microfinance Institution (MFI). Actually, a lender has the option of lending at a 0% interest rate, which is a big plus as is the ability of lenders and borrowers to interact directly with each other. The ability to control rates while lending, transparency of Zidisha (e.g. disclosure of rates & fees), and having no intermediaries are the three main factors that attracted me to Zidisha. I intend to keep lending here as long as the three main factors remain.

2

Donor

Rating: 4

By allowing me to lend directly to recipients, Zidisha ensures there are very few costs involved. This makes the interest rates paid by the recipients low, while encouraging donors to set realistic rates. This isn't a charity so much as a method of sensible economic stimulation. I am happy to make a modest profit on my loans so that money can be lent out again and again. After more than a year, I have had no bad debt and am lending to about 30 recipients with amounts of about $10-20. Charity should be about all of us really, and Zidisha social lending is close to this ideal.

1 Joseph14

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Zidisha is the one nonprofit microfinance organization out there that is created to help poor business owners throughout Africa. Zidisha's main strengths our it's transparency which encourages the lowest interest rates possible and full communication with the borrowers themselves! It's a testament to the fact that technology will be able to connect us personally to the poor's business, and allow us to have profound impact on the daily lives of others from the comfort of our PC.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Zidisha offers the unique opportunity to loan directly to African individuals who are seeking small loans in order to start new or expand existing businesses. In addition to the interest paid on money loaned, this peer to peer model also includes the bonus of personal communication. It is a unique life-changing experience for the borrower who receives they funds they need and the lender who gets to experience first hand the effects of the money they lend. I love this concept and look to be lending for many more years to come. Go Zidisha!

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Zidisha is a peer to peer microloan service, funding loans to small business owners in countries like Kenya and Senegal. On their site, http://zidisha.org, you can view photos of prospective borrowers and brief descriptions of the amount and purpose of the loans requested. When you find one you like, you can see a detailed description of the business, the credit rating of the borrower, and the proposed rate of interest. You can then bid on all or part of the loan. Loans I have made range from $25 to $50 of an average $500 loan. So far, I have received monthly repayments on time, and have simply put the funds into new loans. I like Zidisha because it gives me a connection to the borrowers through email updates, and a feeling that I am making a tangible contribution.

1 Elinor O.

Donor

Rating: 5

Zidisha is amazing. I am completely addicted to helping people here -- and the best part is, it is a loan. So when the folks are successful with their business and pay you back (with interest) you an take the moneya nd loan to the next entrepreneur!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The interest rates in many African countries are double digits and they really kills of the private sector. This initiate would be very helpful in the growth of the private sector. We just need to put the word out there because not so many people know about this. I be willing to promote the initiative as much as I can.

2 Eliza W.

Donor

Rating: 5

I find Zidisha to be easily accessible and I feel that it is reliable. All lender risks are clearly explained, allowing lenders to feel confident that they understand their commitment. Furthermore, I think the model is an important one: providing businesspeople in developing countries who need loans with low-interest loans is a tool that facilitates self-empowerment and promotes entrepreneurship.

1 Tommi D.

Donor

Rating: 5

Zidisha has been very helpful in assisting us with their website. The funds we have donated go to folks that are trying to better themselves. WE gave christmas presents this year to our kids so our grandchildren will start to understand community, giving, and helping others is an important thing to do.

2

Donor

Rating: 5

I became interested in "microloans", when a woman i know told me about giving presents involving loans through KIVA to her two young nieces. Apparently her nieces were really excited about the process, and when the loans were repaid, they loaned the money again, rather than taking their principal and interest for personal gain. I decided to check KIVA out, in order to share this adventure with my kids and grandkids, as christmas presents. Learning more about Kiva, however, changed my mind. Kiva may be a wonderful organization, but I was pretty turned off by the fact that middle-men, called "Field Partners" by Kiva, charge EXTREMELY high interest rates. To me, this felt like usury, as their interest rates were as high as 88%, and I understand are around 35% on average.Thanks to a review of Kiva on wikipedia.com, I discovered Zidisha. Zidisha has no "Field Partners"-none whatsoever. Their interest rates are set by the borrowers; most borrowers offer around 5% interest, and this has to be accepted by lenders, such as myself. Another issue is that, with Zidisha, we lenders can decide who we loan money to. This is apparently not (always?) the case with Kiva. I'm not trying to convince anyone that they should use Zidisha over Kiva, or any other microloan ageny-just explaining how I became involved in Zidisha. My wife and I just decided to loan out another $450 to what appear to be worthwhile borrowers, also with the help of Zidisha; we're hopeful that this money helps the six recipients, and we hope we are repaid the money we loaned. Frankly, though, it's more important to us to be able to help folks who need it than to earn money on our investments. If earning money were our focus, I'd continue building houses (I'm an old building contractor), where we can earn the big bucks :)