Model-turned-actress Lily Cole is launching a new programme to help connect volunteers with those in need.
The Snow White and the Huntsman star has long been inspired by civilisations which operate within a gift economy, which involves the exchange of valuable goods and services without the promise of something in return.
In an article for America's BlackBook magazine, she writes, "Prior to the use of money as currency, many societies operated in a gift economy... I just got back from northern Ghana in January (12) where the men in the village were rethatching the roof of one of the village huts. They told me they do this every three years, rotating whose hut is repaired...
"Gift economies, though, don't exist exclusively in what some might call pre-Industrial societies. I just read that if one were to monetize the amount of things people do for each other without charging them in the U.K., it would equal the Gross Domestic Product of England."
Cole is now hoping to bring back that ideology, which is rarely practised in money-driven countries like the U.S. and Great Britain, by teaming up with internet bosses at Google and Wikipedia to create a new website.
She continues, "I am currently developing a website called, which seeks to add a social networking component to the gift economy. I call it a social-giving network. My idea is to build an online community wherein as one donates gifts, goods, or services... the donor can be thanked by the receiver... which, in turn, inspires more giving... Think of it as an altruistic version of Facebook."