In the recent guest blog post "Mico-Economics: How to Win the War in Afghanistan" for my Mrs. Lieutenant blog, Andrew Lubin explained how very small investments can make huge differences in Afghanistan.
Yesterday I came across the organization Kiva.org that facilitates micro-lending in the developing world. Here's the site's explanation of how it works:
Choose an Entrepreneur, Lend, Get RepaidRead Andrew Lubin's guest post and then check out Kiva.org to see if there's a micro-project in which you're interested in investing.
1) Lenders like you browse profiles of entrepreneurs in need, and choose someone to lend to. When they lend, using PayPal or their credit cards, Kiva collects the funds and then passes them along to one of our microfinance partners worldwide.
2) Kiva's microfinance partners distribute the loan funds to the selected entrepreneur. Often, our partners also provide training and other assistance to maximize the entrepreneur's chances of success.
3) Over time, the entrepreneur repays their loan. Repayment and other updates are posted on Kiva and emailed to lenders who wish to receive them.
4) When lenders get their money back, they can re-lend to someone else in need, donate their funds to Kiva (to cover operational expenses), or withdraw their funds.