UK online retailer Good Gifts wants you to buy a Kalashnikov rifle (most likely an AK-47) -- £25. Or perhaps a rocket launcher (£55). Or a tank, for £1000. Not for your own use, mind you, but to provide the raw materials for enterprising blacksmiths and metalworkers in Sierra Leone, who turn the iron and such into "farm implements... hoes and axe heads... pickaxes, sickles and even school bells." A single tank will provide a year's work for 5 blacksmiths, they say, and convert into 3,000 items.
This sounds amazing and clever. Although the Good Gifts site provides few details about how it's accomplished (and how everyone's certain that the AK-47 goes to the blacksmith and not the local militia), the organization behind the site, the Charities Advisory Trust, is reputable, and several UK media outlets have profiled the Good Gifts program.
It's not every day we actually get to turn the modern equivalent of swords into plowshares.
It is reputable, and fairly established. Last year, a goat was one of the bestselling Xmas presents here in the UK. THis year, you can't move for ethical gift catalogues from most of the major charities (Oxfam, Care, Concern and so on). A heartily good thing, IMHO, as people generally have most things they need (and want) anyway....