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October 2005

Open source software and development

Was walking down the hall upstairs and came across “Open Source Software: Perspectives for Development” by Paul Dravis. Still leafing through it, but the ‘open’ vs. ‘proprietary’ software debate is sure to play an increasing role in future development discussions. This short note includes case-studies from Brazil, Tajikistan, India, and Laos. - P2P microfinance

The blogosphere is a-buzz about Kiva – the world’s first peer-to-peer, distributed microloan website. The site allows you to lend a small amount of money, say $25, to needy microenterprises in developing countries (for now just Uganda). You receive repayment at the end of the loan period (normally 6-12 months) without interest. If they default on the loan, your loan becomes a donation – though none of the businesses have defaulted yet.

World Summit on the Information Society

WsisInfoDEV is hosting an online discussion in advance of the Tunis Nov. 17-18 World Summit on the Information Society. The discussion will run through November 14. The WSIS is sure to be a great event... more to follow.

A market for virtue

This Wednesday Brookings will be having an event for David Vogel’s latest book, The Market for Virtue: The Potential and Limits of Corporate Social Responsibility. Vogel claims that while CSR has resulted in numerous achievements, it should be seen as a compliment to more effective public polices - not a substitute.

Performance of state owned enterprises

Last chance! We have received numerous requests to extend the deadline of our current online discussion on ‘how to improve the performance of state enterprises' – so the discussion will now be closing on Nov. 2nd. 70 people have already sounded in.

Donkey business

Russell Hay, a British businessman, is no stranger to asininity. While living in Namibia, he has twice driven into a donkey. On a lonely northern stretch, he swerved to avoid one, only to see it flattened by a lorry behind him.

Earlier this year, he and a friend set up Donkey Welfare of Namibia. With the Namibian government's blessing, the British outfit is planning to make donkeys glow in the dark by attaching reflective tags to their ears.

Foundations leveraging markets

Government is moving from resource provider to catalyst and enabler. Business is globalizing and is a growing force in influencing societal well-being. Social innovations once stimulated by the public sector are increasingly seeded by business and expanded through the market. For foundations, working with companies and through markets is a critical, yet underutilized tool to unleash new resources that build assets and wealth in poor communities.