No doubt you've heard of microfinance. It's the social entrepreneurial business of giving tiny loans to very poor people (usually women) to seed small enterprise. The women can use the money to make clothes, cloth, food, crafts or other items and sell them. This also seeds capitalism in non-capitalistic countries, enables the women to escape abusive husbands and to become literate. It empowers the women to send their children to school and to help other women start their own businesses. It pulls whole families and villages out of grinding poverty.
Nicholas Kristof, writing in the New York Times, said that seeding such businesses in places like Pakistan actually fights terrorism. I believe he is correct. He also said that microfinance has been more successful in Asia than Africa. Interesting. The founder of the microfinance agency Kristof wrote about was founded by Wharton undergraduate alumna Roshaneh Zafar. (I got my MBA from Wharton, so this is exciting to me.)
Read Kristof's whole column :