Online altruism

Not very surprisingly, I have a strong interest in how ICT solutions can alleviate issues in developing countries. Indeed, I’ve been contributing my share over the past few years. However, more recently, some great minds have come up with interesting projects with an integral web-based component to allow pretty much everyone with an internet connection and some dough to more directly contribute to individuals with challenges in developing countries.
Typically, these projects try to facilitate small enterprises and, in a way, bring microcredit to the masses. Here are a few interesting projects out there:

+ Kiva. Allows you to directly loan money to budding entrepreneurs in developing countries. Quite cool, but rather indiscriminate. I’d be interested in sponsoring businesses in only particular regions of the world or with a particular focus. There’s no way to be notified when relevant opportunities pop up and with Kiva being so popular, you’ll blink and miss ’em.
+ Links volunteers (typically in developed countries) with projects (in developing countries). Interesting concept, but I feel the nature of the concept is easily too non-committal to make a real difference. In other words, as a volunteer, it requires a lot of altruistic commitment to stay interested in the long run.
+ 1%club. In Dutch. Similar to Kiva, allows you to select projects you can sponsor directly. However, where Kiva deals in repayable loans, The 1%club deals in donations. I’d be a bit worried about the online reports being seemingly the only way to confirm progress on the projects sponsored.
+ Similar to Kiva and the 1%club, but solely focused on the US and charity oriented. That is, with Kiva, you expect to get the money back, with this one, you’re giving it away.

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With lower profiles and results, there’s also laluz (in Dutch) and playitforward, very pretty, but with an awfully slow website which is not cross browser compliant.

What projects did I miss?

In unrelated but web news, the website jooblii, where you can find out what’s going on when, is beautifully designed. And travel related.

On another unrelated note, I purchased the Nokia 1680 which supposedly is supported by Beetagg for scanning 2D barcodes. Not so. Upgrade or foggedaboudid?