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Web Philanthropy: Jessica Jackley On How Tech Has Advanced Microfinance
Social Change | March 06, 2013

Web Philanthropy: Jessica Jackley On How Tech Has Advanced Microfinance

Jessica Jackley, a social change speaker and the co-founder of KIVA, knows about the power of technology to help lift people out of poverty first-hand—after all, it's what KIVA is based on. In an interview at the Atlantic Meets Pacific Conference, she explained how the internet and microfinance has allowed her to pinpoint individual needs and fulfill them in a whole new way. Traditional ventures of the past aimed at helping the poor were generally philanthropic in nature, and attempted to address a large scale problem. With KIVA, however, Jackley was able to provide individual people with capital to lift themselves out of poverty and eventually become self-sustainable. And, the money that was originally given to them is paid back to the individual lenders—something that doesn't happen with traditional philanthropic aid, and allows for a lender's money to help multiple individuals over time.

With a nearly perfect repayment rate, Jackley's approach to combating poverty has proven to successful. She says that technology has been instrumental in making this process so successful—linking up loaners and entrepreneurs who may never have been in contact otherwise. Jackley applies her experience in the social enterprise sector to her keynotes, and in her lectures as a Barer Visiting Fellow at Drew University. She teaches her students and her audiences how to turn your drive to make a difference into a successful project by effectively leveraging technology and social media. She also explains that you can be successful and follow your passions—you just have to find a project that allows you to do both.
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