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2016 Top-Rated Nonprofit

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

Community Stories

73 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

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 :)

1

Donor

Rating: 5

I heard about Zidisha through a friend who filled in me in on who they are and what they do. Zidisha impressed me with their direct approach to connecting lenders with borrowers. Their website is clear and easy to navigate, and each borrow's profile really helps you appreciate what your money is going towards. As of now I am slowly being repaid my initial loan, and am more than happy to relend that money to different borrowers. Zidisha makes it easy to keep informed on the borrowers' progress. Having no experience with any other micro-financing organisations, my experience with Zidisha has been nothing but positive and I intend to continue lending for a long time.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

Having decided to explore microfinance options it took me some time to find an organization with the goals and transparency that I sought. I have been impressed by my Zidisha experience. Unlike other microfinance organizations Zidisha is a peer-to-peer microlending where lenders interact directly with the borrows, eliminating the middlemen, and making the lending experience an imtimate and personal touch.

3 Sander V.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I choose Zidisha.org as my case study when writing my Master's thesis last year. I did this because Zidisha is unique in being the only platform that truly connects borrowers and lenders, and offers both the power to decide how much they want to lend and how much and at what rate to borrow. Unlike other platforms, when I lend 10$ on Zidisha, I know the exact person I'm lending to and what he/she will be using those funds for. Zidisha is the first platform to empower computer-literate entrepreneurs in developing nations to get loans at affordable rates (perhaps too low for Zidisha to be a viable stand-alone organisation...), without having the lenders loose their impact and decision-making power.

1 James33

Volunteer

Rating: 5

having been volunteering for Zidisha for the past four months is a life changing experience. Zidisha is far much better than any other lending organization i have ever had.Borrowing has become easy, simple and straight forward.Clients who receive their first loans through zidisha have a story to tell, this is because many have never had such an experience before.Its in the conventional wisdom that to get a loan you must have saved with the organization that gives loans and that whenever you give those small enterprenuers small loans they never pay back and this zidisha has proofed the nay sayers that its not true. I continue marketing and advocating for zidisha as many families are being transformed by zidisha.

2 Daniel Rozas

Advisor

Rating: 5

To those familiar with how microfinance normally works, Zidisha represents a sea-change. Not only does it allow foreign lenders to lend to and interact with borrowers directly, it goes on to challenge many of the traditional assumptions of how microfinance should be done.

Can borrower credibility be sufficiently established without direct person-to-person interaction? Yes.

Can borrowers be trusted to repay their loans without regular visits from a loan officer? Yes.

Can a microfinance institution without physical presence on the ground -- no headquarters, no branches, no staff -- maintain the required credibility among clients to insure high repayment rates? Yes.

These are huge questions, and until Zidisha, they were nearly universally assumed to be impossible. Zidisha has proved each of those assumptions wrong, and in the process has been turning microfinance lending on its head. Though Zidisha is still small and young, it is already starting to inspire traditional microfinance institutions to experiment in this direction. If successful, Zidisha's example can help the industry worldwide make their loans less costly and more flexible -- all to the benefit of poor clients.

Lenders and donors who participate via Zidisha are not only establishing closer links with borrowers in Kenya, Senegal, and elsewhere, but are also helping change the microfinance industry itself.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 3

I
have worked in the field of lending with one of the leading MFIs in
kenya for more than 10years.Some things I have learnt include; A
borrower who services his/her loan well,encourages the lender.A lender
will always be happy if the living standard of the borrower is improved
by the loan.Availability of the loan when needed determines the
repayment very much.The cost of the loan to the borrower is also an
important factor in loan repayment.etc.The demand for funds by the very
low income earners is still high but not yet met because they do not fit
very well in the current interest rates offered by the Banks.What
Zidisha is doing to connect the borrower to the lender with an affordable
interest rate is turning to be very important.After I learnt about
Zidisha through internet,I have now noted people who has taken loans
through Zidisha and even some are servicing the second loan.Therefore the lenders through Zidisha should be encouraged
because the funds is well channeled to the needy.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Zidisha is a really great organization to intern for, or volunteer with. I've been with the organization for a few months now and have experienced a very rewarding experience. I'll admit, before interning with Zidisha I knew very little about Africa, its culture, and its people. Since beginning my work I've developed an affinity for the people of Africa. They are warm people who are always optimistic and enthusiastic about the future. The people who work at Zidisha are professional, friendly, and devoted to their cause. I'd recommend them to anyone looking for internships, volunteer opportunities, or to anyone looking to lend money to those less fortunate.

2 V.S.

Donor

Rating: 5

I lend money through Zidisha, and I was really glad to find the site. While I've been lending (and still lend) money through other microfinance sites like Kiva, the terribly high interest rates borrowers have to pay on loans through those setups seems lika an extra burden for people already struggling. I really applaud Zidisha for creating a structure that can bring the interest rates down so significantly, and also have the borrowers more personally involved.

Zidisha clearly needs more lenders in its community: Right now, some loans might end up waiting quite a while before being completed. However, the site has been growing and improving dramatically since I joined about a year ago. With all the improvements it has ended up very nice and easy to use by now, and I see no reason why it shouldn't take off through word of mouth.

Anyone with an interest in microfinance should definitely take a look.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Zidisha is a truly innovative organization. The director, Julia Kurnia, is passionate about her work and is prompt, accountable, and knowledgeable in all manners with Zidisha Inc.

The borrowers do their best to update frequently about their life and business, which is really nice because you can see exactly how your loan helps.

Overall, I really recommend Zidisha!