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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

1 Story from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

2 Daniel Rozas


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.