Project Year



Latin America and the Caribbean


Mexico, Guatemala

Project Description

This project investigates how new technologies are reshaping the provision of micro loans to the poor by focusing on the work of, a U.S.-based nonprofit organization that uses the Internet to establish person-to-person digital lending networks. The study will conduct ethnographic among poor women’s lending groups in Chiapas, Mexico, and Lake Atitlan, Guatemala, who receive money from kiva lenders to expand their small businesses in the areas of food preparation and sales, retail and crafts.


Anke Schwittay, Paul Braund

About the Researcher(s)


Anke Schwittay is the co-founder and Director of Research of RiOS Institute. She holds a PhD in Anthropology from the University of California at Berkeley, where she also has been lecturing on capitalism, development, technology and social entrepreneurship. She is the author of Silicon Valley's Emerging Markets: Global Corporate Citizenship and Entrepreneurship in the IT Industry, which is based in several years of ethnographic research among high-tech corporations in Silicon Valley, as well Latin America and India. She is currently conducting research on social innovation in Silicon Valley and Central America.


Paul Braund is the co-Founder and Executive Director of RiOS Institute, a partnership organization of the United Nations Global Alliance for ICT and Development. Mr. Braund began his career in Design and technology development with a leading international consulting group in Silicon Valley, Europe and Asia, and worked for 20 years with startups, multinationals and government agencies. He is a lecturer at the University of California at Berkeley, focusing on ICT and Development and Social Entrepreneurship, and an adviser to the World Bank Institute. Mr. Braund has an MA and MPhil from the Royal College, London, England.

Click here for details on Anke Schwittay's book: New Media and International Development Representation and affect in microfinance

Click here to see how Anke Schwittay used IMTFI research in an article for PoLAR.

Link to Anke Schwittay's blog post: "Making Academic Research for Financial Inclusion Actionable"


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