If they manage to repay the loans on time, then they are presumably not in more debt. Other than that - who knows? Kiva will give you information on how helpful it is but I am not aware of any independent assessment, without searching on line. On the other hand, some small loan formats have been replicated in the Western world for helping low income people access funding for building their own business. The credit union organisation could also be considered a small loan business model and then there are organisations like Zopa, where lenders combine to help borrowers, so no one lender is at risk because of one failure.