New Round of Kiva.org Lending
Kiva.org is the first website that provides a way to do person-to-person micro-lending and it is a great idea.
Here's why... It basically takes the Child Sponsorship model that we've all seen. This is where you would sponsor a specific child in a developing country and send them some money. In return, the child sends you updates and photos of themselves. While, this is all good and well, the problem is that while the feedback to the sponsor is engaging and maximizes the continuation of sponsorship, the administration costs are EXTREMELY high.
Kiva.org does basically the same thing with entrepreneurs. It lets you look at their profiles and lend to those individuals or groups in which you're interested. So, while you get "journal" reports and repayment data etc...it all happens online and at very low cost. Smart! The people that need the money get it, and there is very little "friction" along the way.
It is a sustainable way of empowering them to lift themselves out of extreme poverty. I'm also very interested in women's issues in the developing world, so my lending bias is towards women. But, that's just my schtick...you can lend to anyone you like!
Come check it out...and join me! It is fun and you know it, your karma can stand a bit of cleansing! :-)