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.
via Seth Godin, who added:
The idea seems to be that anyone can be a microlender… Instead of spending $25 on lattes, you can help a farmer in Bangladesh buy a bull… and then he pays you back.