The GiveWell Blog

Kiva suspends partnership with large, criticized partner LAPO

Back in December, we expressed concerns about LAPO, one of Kiva‘s largest microfinance partners. Last month, the New York Times ran an article implying criticism of LAPO. Now, Kiva has suspended its partnership with LAPO. A couple of questions this raises: Which of the several objections to LAPO have led to the suspension? Several concerns… Read More

Celebrated charities that we don’t recommend

Normally, we focus on identifying outstanding charities, and minimize the time spent on opaque or otherwise lackluster ones. But lately, we’ve gone into a bit more detail about our take on several of the best-known and most appealing charities out there. What all of the charities below have in common is that (a) we have… Read More

Where we stand on microfinance charity

We’ve thought and written a lot about microfinance lately. As of now, here’s where we stand. What microfinance is and isn’t First, it’s important to recognize that most of what you’ve heard about microfinance is false. It isn’t primarily about funding business expansion.. It isn’t a “proven solution” to poverty. And it doesn’t leverage your… Read More

LAPO (Kiva partner) and financial vs. social success

We recently looked at Kiva’s largest partner MFI, LAPO (Lift Above Poverty Organization), as part of our evaluation process for an economic empowerment grant in sub-Saharan Africa. In brief, we found two surprising pieces of information: LAPO is very profitable. There’s good reason to be concerned about LAPO’s social impact. As Natalie recently described on… Read More

When donations and profits meet, beware

David Roodman raises the concern that Kiva capital could be effectively “padding profits” at a profitable microfinance institution. He concludes, If social investors provide capital at prices below commercial rates to enterprises with “double bottom lines” (profit and social benefit), how do the investors assure that their cheap capital isn’t being used to boost just… Read More

Not our last word on the Kiva controversy

Nathaniel Whittemore writes that it’s “time to move on” regarding the recent Kiva controversy. I disagree. It’s true that Kiva handled the criticism admirably, and made significant changes to its website to improve clarity for donors. It’s also true that Kiva has a stronger case than many for being generally transparent and impactful. Finally, it’s… Read More