In the mid-1970s, an economics Professor in Bangladesh had a radical idea. He decided that he would lend poor women entrepreneurs tiny sums of money, which they could use to invest in small enterprises that would bring their families a steadier income and improve their circumstances. Decades later, Professor Muhammad Yunus and his idea of microloans, as well as the institution he founded to put his ideas into practice, the Grameen Bank, have won the Nobel Peace Prize and gained worldwide acclaim.
The achievements of the Grameen Bank are currently under threat, however, as the government of Bangladesh seeks to assert its control over Grameen and its subsidiaries. RESULTS is calling on all people who support the Grameen Bank to sign a petition calling for the government of Bangladesh to respect the autonomy of Grameen, as well as the rights of its female borrowers, who are in fact a majority of the company’s shareholders thanks to the innovative system of corporate ownership created by Prof. Yunus.
Posted in Development Finance, Microfinance, News, Women
Tagged alistair burt, Bangladesh, Grameen Bank, Hillary Clinton, Microcredit Summit Campaign, Microfinance, Muhammad Yunus, sheikh hasina, Yunus
Muhammad Yunus, founder of the Grameen Bank and a pioneer of modern microfinance, has been ousted from his position of Managing Director of the bank he founded. Yunus has been at loggerheads with the Bangladeshi Government, and with Sheikh Hasina Wajed, the Prime Minister, in particular.
Yunus’ problems began in early 2006 when he considered making a move into politics. He penned an open letter to the Bangladeshi Daily Star, in which he asked members of the public to give him ideas about how he could set up and run a new party that was anti-corruption and designed to establish good governance, public trust and committed leadership. The new party was to be called Citizen Power. In early 2007 he announced that he was abandoning his plans, but his grassroots popularity and potentially vast political support apparaently unsettled the Bangladesh political elite. Continue reading
On Saturday, members of the London RESULTS group brought friends and supporters together to learn about and celebrate the work of RESULTS. Continue reading
US President Barack Obama yesterday named microfinance pioneer, Muhammad Yunus as one of the 16 recipients of the 2009 Presidential Medal of Freedom. America’s highest civilian honor, the Medal of Freedom is awarded to individuals who make an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.
Dr. Muhammad Yunus is a global leader in anti-poverty efforts, and has pioneered the use of “micro-loans” to provide credit to poor individuals without collateral. Dr. Yunus, an economist by training, founded the Grameen Bank in 1983 in his native Bangladesh to provide small, low-interest loans to the poor to help better their livelihood and communities. Despite its low interest rates and lending to poor individuals, Grameen Bank is sustainable and 98% percent of its loans are repaid – higher than other banking systems. It has spread its successful model throughout the world. Dr. Yunus received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 for his work.
This year’s awardees were chosen for their work as agents of change. Among their many accomplishments in fields ranging from sports and art to science and medicine to politics and public policy, these men and women have changed the world for the better. They have blazed trails and broken down barriers. They have discovered new theories, launched new initiatives, and opened minds to new possibilities.
President Obama will present the awards at a ceremony on Wednesday, August 12.
For more information, visit: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the_press_office/President-Obama-Names-Medal-of-Freedom-Recipients/
Moral leaders such as Desmond Tutu and Muhammad Yunus have joined RESULTS and other members of the Global Campaign for Education in imploring Gordon Brown and Barack Obama to create new global fund for education by the end of the year.
Read their open letter to the G8 here.
The State of the Microcredit Summit Campaign Report 2009 was succssfully launched on January 26, 2009 in New York City. The report carried the exciting news that that more than 106 million of the world’s poorest families recieved a microloan in 2007, surpasing a goal set by the Campaign ten yeas earlier.
Here is what Nobel Prize Laureate and Grameen Bank Founder Muhammad Yunus said about the news: “This is a tremendous achievment that mny people thought was far too difficult to reach. What makes it even more remarkable is that loans to more than 100 million very poor families now touch the lives of more than half a billion family members around the world. That is half of the world’s poorest people.”