'Facebook for farmers' brings microloans to people in rural China


This page in:

The founders of a microfinance website I came across a few months ago are giving an interesting, benevolent twist to social networking. At least, that’s one way of looking at Wokai.org, a non-profit organization benefiting entrepreneurs in rural China.

Wokai has been dubbed by some as a “Facebook for farmers,” yet it may be more comparable to well-known microfinance sites like Kiva, which allow people with an Internet connection to give loans directly to entrepreneurs in developing countries. Wokai, however, focuses solely on impoverished people living in rural China.

The site has been around for about two years and says it has raised $45,000 from about 500 contributors. The money has gone to more than 160 rural Chinese entrepreneurs, who put loans to a variety of uses, such as pig farming, furniture making and starting a restaurant.

The comparison to Facebook is made because individual donors and borrowers have profiles on the site, and contributors can read about (and watch the progress of) the people their loans go to. Casey Wilson, one of the site’s founders, explains more about the organization in this video shot by a reporter based in China.

Join the Conversation

September 22, 2009

A very interesting model, any possibility to replicate the outreach activities to my country. I think it's timely for developing country to adopt the model and enable societal transformation and social change.

Arun B
September 22, 2009

This is truly inspirational development that coincides growth and sustainable development hand-in-hand making people to take most informed choices about the investment for investors and develop business activities for rural entrepreneurs. I wish I could envision similar things in elsewhere and replicate the outreach activities. Truly great efforts!