Philanthropy Action

News & Commentary



Oct 28, 2009

Microfinance: Autism or Hormone Replacement Therapy?

This has been a banner year for gathering real evidence about microfinance. But does all of this research matter? Will it change what donors believe about microfinance? In other words, is microfinance more like autism or Hormone Replacement Therapy?

Oct 16, 2009

Kiva, Transparency, Connections and Conduits

There’s been a great deal more conversation about the gap between the Kiva story and the Kiva reality since my post on Monday. You can see a mostly comprehensive guide to the conversation here (and I really recommend reading through the first several articles there if you’re not familiar with the debate). The most important update is that Kiva tonight posted a new, more complete description of how it operates. I want to react to various points made in the debate and Kiva’s update, clarify where I stand and ask a few more questions of everyone involved. I truly hope the outcome of all of this conversation is lots of Kiva users, and lots of other donors, who are willing to accept less connection in favor of more effectiveness.

Oct 15, 2009

Water Tabulations

Water use and preservation may be going increasingly high tech.

Oct 15, 2009

Good News in Neglected Tropical Disease Control

Researchers from McGill University in Canada have identified the mechanism used by the leishmania parasite to survive in human cells and disable the human immune system.

Oct 13, 2009

A Mostly Comprehensive Guide to the Kiva and Donor Illusion Debate

The posts and comments have been flying fast and furious over the issue of Kiva specifically and the issues of transparency and donors demands for illusion. For those who haven’t been able to keep up, I thought it would be helpful to provide a mostly comprehensive guide to the various posts. I’ll try to keep it updated when/if more is added.

Oct 12, 2009

Even More Questions About Kiva

Today I saw a Kiva document that, for me, points to a far bigger problem with Kiva than those already pointed out. Two points in the document floored me. First, all losses from Kiva-securitized loans are borne by the Kiva user. Second, Kiva’s monthly repayment reports are not based on actual repayment data.

Oct 07, 2009

Rwanda: Now the Tragedy has Irony

Rwanda is a place where the generally accepted and reported narrative is increasingly diverging from the facts on the ground. The narrative is well-known: Since the genocide, Rwanda has made steady progress in economic growth, stability and reconciliation under the benevolent and enlightened leadership of President Paul Kagame who is attracting economic investment from the business community rather than by soliciting aid.

But the narrative is breaking down at all levels. Rwanda is starting to look much more like a bitter tragedy than an inspirational new model.

Oct 02, 2009

HIV Vaccine Trial Yields Tepid Results