Perhaps you’ve heard that Muhammad Yunus has won the Nobel Peace Prize for his work in banking. Rather than working with the rich, Yunus focused on micro-loans to ordinary poor people. These loans – a few dollars here, a few dollars there – enabled poor people to become economically self-sufficient. We have friends in Indonesia who run an NGO using this concept, and they report great results.
If you want to end poverty (whether you think ending poverty possible or not), and think Yunus has come up with a good idea, you can do more than just cheer him on. Check out Kiva.org where you can become an international “Venture Capitalist” yourself, helping people in need. If you want news on the organization check out the Kiva Chronicles. This approach sure sounds better than the old “foreign aid” model of sending billions of dollars to needy countries, only to have most the aid siphoned off by corrupt officials to be stored in their Swiss bank accounts.
UPDATE: Mr. Yunus has a piece on Microfinance in the Wall Street Journal.