One-fifth of the world is living in absolute poverty, defined as having less than one dollar per person per day. One-quarter have no access to health care or to clean drinking water. 190 million children suffer from chronic malnutrition.
There are many ways of attacking poverty and those with most impact often operate at national or international level. An example is the growth of the Information Technology sector in India.
But one powerful smaller tool is the Small Loan or Micro-finance type of project. The best known is the Grameen Bank of Bangladesh, which by the end of December 2007 had 7.41 million borrowers, 97 percent of whom are women. Borrowers do not need collateral, so the bank reaches the poorest of the poor, covering 96 percent of all villages in Bangladesh.