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Via Boing Boing comes word of Kiva.org:

Kiva lets you connect with and loan money to unique small businesses in the developing world.

By choosing a business on our website and then lending money online to that enterprise, you can "sponsor a business" and help the world's working poor make great strides towards economic independence. Throughout the course of the loan (usually 6-12 months), you can receive monthly email updates that let you know about the progress being made by the small business you've sponsored. These updates include reports on loan repayment progress, photos of new capital equipment, narratives on business growth and standard of living improvements, and more. As loans are repaid, you will get your original loan money back.

How does the loan process work?
By partnering with existing microfinance organizations and institutions, Kiva finds outstanding entrepreneurs who need loan funding. Our expert in-country staff works with these partner organizations to conduct due diligence on each business, and once approved, post each business' profile on our website. This is where you come in. You can choose loan money online, using your credit card or Paypal, in increments as low as $25 toward the loan needs of a business. With your participation, Kiva gives entrepreneurs access to the capital they need to lift themselves out of poverty.

Looking through Kiva's Website, I thought to myself, "I am so all over this!" Sadly, there's so much interest from would-be lenders that they've temporarily run out of projects to fund. (How ironic is that?) But I'm eagerly awaiting my first chance to loan money to a fishmonger, a medicine vendor, or whatever comes along next. This is going to be a big deal -- like PayPal meets Christian Childrens Fund, minus the guilt.


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I just came across this site tonight. If I can accept that it is not a rip off, I will become a lender. What is your experience with these people? Anything I need to know?

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