Eradicating Poverty through Microfinance
I had the opportunity to see Dr. Muhammad Yunus, the founder of Grameen Bank and a 2006 Nobel Peace Laureate speak in Austin this past weekend.
IBM is teaming up with the Grameen Foundation to tackle poverty by enhancing Mifos, an open-source microfinance software platform. Microfinance loans help disadvantaged entrepreneurs start small, self-sustaining businesses. By streamlining the lending process, the software is making a difference in places like India, Kenya, Tunisia and Honduras.
I am glad to see IBM is doing the right thing by contributing technology experts and resources to the project. It looks like the lending is currently done through MFIs (microfinance institutions). I wonder if a peer-to-peer lending system like Prosper.com could further help people in developing nations? Both approaches are about helping others via small (under $200) loans and are decent ways to set aside some money and also lend a helping hand to people in need.