And Now, the Good News
The loans are made with no lawyers, no paperwork (often the recipient can't read), and no guarantee of repayment.
Kiva is an international group that acts as go-between for the lenders and the entrepreneurs. Individuals can loan any amount they like out to any of the people starting (or improving) their business. Individuals can also join groups (like the Crazy Canucks, or the Praise Black Jesus donor groups) to make it a community effort.
So far, Kiva arranged for well over $47,000,000; the default rate is below 1%.
And they recently achieved the amazing goal of funding every person who successfully applied for a loan.
We are with the Flying Spaghetti Monster Religious Congregation, and I suggest you find a mob you like and dive in: it's solid proof that altruism works, mate.
This is what the World Bank was supposed to be doing, and was doing, right up until the 80's when the ideologues of the Thatcher/Reagan era took over. What say we show them how to really change the world?
Note: Kiva started as a peer-to-peer lending institution in March, 2005. Three and a half years, and nearly $48,000,000 loaned out, often five or ten dollars at a time.
And from the observant: