Innovation That Matters

P2P student loans for the developing world

Nonprofit & Social Cause

Entrepreneurs in the developing world have already benefited from peer-to-peer lending programs through the likes of Kiva, Wokai and Jolkona. Now aiming to bring similar benefits to students in those areas is Vittana, a Seattle-based foundation that focuses on educational loans. Now in beta, Vittana partners with microfinance institutions (MFIs) throughout the developing world to catalyze new student lending programs. Potential lenders begin by browsing through the students profiled on the site—current examples include a 19-year-old woman studying industrial administration in Peru, for example, and a 25-year-old man studying financial accounting in Nicaragua. When they see one they’d like to help, they can lend as little as USD 25 toward that student’s education. Vittana’s local MFI partner—which has already verified that the students listed are hard-working and likely to succeed—then disburses the full amount of that loan to the student. Once the student graduates and gets a job, he or she starts paying back that MFI partner; when the loaned funds are fully repaid, Vittana returns to the lender the full amount that was lent. We wrote last year about Fynanz and its peer-to-peer student loans, but it’s nice to see similar capabilities being brought to students in the developing world. One to partner with, emulate, or otherwise get involved in! (Related: Fighting poverty through microloan guarantees.) Spotted by: Ozgur Alaz



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