Kiva Now Taking Loans via hi5

In the truest of holiday spirits, social network hi5 has teamed up with micro-lending site Kiva.org in order to provide an integrated way in which hi5 users can make direct, person-to-person microloans via Kiva’s service. This will be accomplished through a Kiva community profile on the hi5 network, enabling the users on hi5 to lend directly to the entrepreneurs.

Why does hi5 or Kiva need a partnership like this? It enables both hi5 and Kiva to operate on a global scale. Kiva already acted as a financial medium for micro-lenders and those in developing countries in need of money to launch their startups. But digging into a large and already global network like hi5 means that Kiva can tap into hi5’s social network in order to promote more giving.

The good thing about this particular partnership is that it’s setting out to make real, actionable occurrences take place within an online environment. LendingTree set out to achieve a similar goal by initiating its launch as a Facebook application. And Kiva has a Facebook app as well, though it doesn’t appear to be as integrated as the new partnership between Kiva and hi5.

Given that hi5 just launched its virtual currency last week, I imagine that a partnership with an organization such as Kiva is only one way in which the new hi5 currency could come into play, even if that’s not yet the case. There are a great number of organizations for charitable, financial and entertainment purposes that could further take advantage of the hi5 currency, so I would conjecture that we’ll be seeing partnerships with hi5 along these lines throughout 2009.