You've probably heard of "micro loans" by now but Kiva.org is the first website/organization of it's kind by helping everyday people provide a "micro loan" to unique small businesses in the developing world. By choosing a business on Kiva.org, 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 receive email journal updates from the business you've sponsored and the repayment rate is currently 100%.
Kiva's new service is currently experiencing record traffic from the incredible press attention it's received (Oprah, The Today Show, and President Clinton's book "Giving" and Frontline World). On average, loans fundraising on the Kiva website receive full funding within a day. To give everyone a chance to lend, they have temporarily limited loan contributions to $25 per business. Kiva hopes to remove the limit soon, as they work with Field Partners to post more loans on the site.
(Shown above is Allen Byaruhanga's group, one of the four people NCM is supporting using Kiva. She is in clothing sales and requesting a loan to buy a baby lock sewing/embroidery machine in order to improve the services that she proves to customers.)