"Give a man a fish; you have fed him for today. Teach a man to fish; and you have fed him for a lifetime."
Evolving traditional forms of relief, Ebay's Microplace provides an alternative solution to alleviating third world poverty. Instead of providing assistance in the traditional forms of food, clothing and donations, Microplace awards small size loans to people in developing nations. The initial loans, ranging from $30-200, provide a new hope and allow recipients to expand their businesses. From farming to creating crafts, the profits from the businesses pay back the initial loan with interest and help improve the recipient's quality of life. Microplace is not about creating handouts, it's about encouraging the entrepreneurial spirit and teaching people to be self-sufficient.
What's revolutionary about Microplace is it allows everyday people the opportunity to INVEST, not donate to the needy and the system is working. The investments are paid back with interest in durations of 1-3 years. It's not a write off, but the support empowers the poor to improve their quality of life and earns a return for the contributors.
Microplace is a true success story created from Web 2.0 media. It's not a popular social networking application or a quirky online video viewed by millions. Instead it is a true form of connectivity. One that impacts people's lives in the real world, not just online. It allows the common man to illuminate other regions and see their impact paid back over time. It's a convincing story that people believe in, not for just 30 seconds or 5 minutes, but for years at a time. It's here for the longterm and will continue well beyond Web 2.0.