I love the idea of helping people help themselves. Kiva is a website that does just that through small person to person loans. Kiva allows people from all over the globe to provide funds to fledgling entrepreneurs in the developing world so that they can begin to lift themselves out of poverty by engaging in the local economy.

The basics seem pretty simple. A loan request is posted, along with details describing what the loan will be used for, and the timeframe in which the loan will be paid back to the lender. Loans are broken up in order to both lessen the risk for lenders and make lending a more real possibility for folks of modest means.

Saving money on the small stuff allows you to make it go father than on things like toothpaste. What I like about Kiva is that is streches the dollar in a way that makes me proud. Plus, since the money gets repaid, the entire process has a sense of accountability built in, and I believe the effects will be even more transformative than just giving someone money outright.

I have yet to donate, but will update my results when I do.