Microfinance in online space: a visual analysis of kiva.org

Microfinance practices were originally developed in offline contexts. Modern microfinance practices were based on development models for the financial and social empowerment of the poorest of poor in developing countries. Several of these practices drew from existing traditions of money lending within local communities that were reformed to be in sync with rural development and the empowerment of the underprivileged individual. In present ‘postmodern’ times, microfinance providers are using online tools in the hopes of broadening the reach and extending the advantages provided by such a model of micro-lending and micro-borrowing. In this article, we examine an online peer-to-peer lending and borrowing website, Kiva.org, which uses online social networking tools in microfinance. The study is thus a close look at the actual content of the website with a view to understanding the representational practices of online space through Internet mediated microfinance.