Follow-up post: Kiva.org

Screenshot of Intercontinental Ballistic Microfinance (A must see - a visual tool for seeing Kiva loans and repayments around the globe: http://bit.ly/pzRVTF

This is too cool.

In one of my very first posts, titled I Believe It, Now I Want the Proof, I talked about wanting to see more meaningful metric from Kiva.org. Not because I think they are not making an impact – the opposite actually. I know in my heart that they are making an impact. But I also am sure that they could do even more of their great work if they displayed transparent and comprehensive Social Impact Assessment.

Well, this isn’t exactly what I asked for, but it is on the right path. Click here to read the article on GOOD.is and watch the video that is an amazing visual of how Kiva loans have been sent out and repaid since the very first loans were made (the number is over 620,000 loans now). The GOOD.is article writes that with this tool, “we can actually see what that difference-making looks like.” But I have to respectfully disagree, at least in part. While this does show how Kiva successfully facilitates small loans made around the world to people in need of alternative credit and financing options, it doesn’t quite go as far as mapping social impact. That map would be something that included pretty colors and lines representing things like business growth, community health, personal empowerment, and other nebulous concepts of social impact achieved as a result of Kiva loans.

I know this might sound like complaining, so let me say again: this map is way cool, and you should check it out. It definitely has benefits and is a powerful visual totally worth the time and energy put into its creation. But we should focus on the next step: finding similar ways to visually represent the actual social impact of Kiva loans. I wrote a few weeks ago about some other tools, including a tool using GoogleMaps, that are helping to show social impact. I wish we could have all these tools in one place, so we could brainstorm together about how to take the best parts of them and develop a tool (or many tools) to show social impact in the same way that qualitative and quantitative Social Impact Assessment reports attempt to do.

Please share other tools that you’ve seen out there dealing with Social Impact Assessment!

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