a question for my readers…if there was a way to support a project in a community (near by or far away) in way that allowed you to engage with the project manager via the internet – would you do it? Kiva.org takes the idea of connecting people willing to lend money to entrepeneurs. But sometimes, there are some projects that are more experimental in nature, but that don’t really qualify for typical large venture capitalists, yet they are trying something to see if it works, piloting a new way of building communities, new ways of helping people out of poverty, and need a little money to get moving.
If you could choose a small project to support and then hear about how it goes – would that be of interest to you?
For example, a friend of mine works in Tanzania with the Maasai people helping them learn to farm the land as they transition from being pastoralists to being a more settled community. He has developed a farming technique which is a conservation agriculture approach using one-third of acre. The idea is to work with some early adopters in the Maasai communities and create demonstration plots over the upcoming years. He needs $1500 for one site.
There are many more stories like this – ordinary people, out in communities, trying new ways of living, new ways of doing things, trying to see if they might help others out of poverty. Yet it involves experiments that often fail, but they keep trying as they keep learning. Small scale philanthropy can help. People from various places around the globe coming together to encourage and support another in the quest.
I’d love to hear if it this would be of interest…
Not sure whether it fits your criteria of ‘small scale’ but you might want to check out the Acumen Fund’s approach, which is somewhere between aid for free and investment for profit. They practise what they refer to as ‘patient capitalism’. Their website is at acumenfund.org and there was an edition of American Public Media’s ‘Speaking of Faith’ radio programme about it a few weeks ago: http://speakingoffaith.publicradio.org/programs/2010/different-kind-of-capitalism/
I’m interested. . .