From the Kiva website -
The people you see on Kiva's site are real individuals in need of funding - not marketing material. When you browse entrepreneurs' profiles on the site, choose someone to lend to, and then make a loan, you are helping a real person make great strides towards economic independence and improve life for themselves, their family, and their community. Throughout the course of the loan (usually 6-12 months), you can receive email journal updates and track repayments. Then, when you get your loan money back, you can relend to someone else in need.
Kiva has been in several publications, including - Forbe's, Inc., CNN, Time, Fox News, and many more. Read about Kiva's work.
I just made my second loan through Kiva and will continue to roll the money back into more loans as they are repaid. I hope some of you will think about loans through Kiva as well. This is a great way to give a little, but have a huge impact through the help of others on the Kiva site.