Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Poverty - Muhammad Yunus

I am reading Muhammad Yunus books since last week. He is the founder of Grameen Bank in Bangladesh a micro-credit organization serving millions (incl. family members) of the poorest of the poor in Bangladesh. The most empowering features of this program is 97% of the borrowers are women and there is no need for collateral. This movement has inspired many more outfits all over the world serving more than 100 million people. Muhammad Yunus and Grameen Bank have been jointly awarded the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize.

Just finished 'Banker to the Poor' and starting 'Creating a World Without Poverty'. His utopian ideals and child-like enthusiasm are contagious. He is currently developing the idea and implementing Social Business (companies with a much stronger CSR). I hope to write more on these later.

In my travels I have interacted and even participated in some of the micro-credit programs in Kolkata, Indonesia, Thailand, Mongolia and Vietnam. Personally, I am interested to learn more of its successes and failures. From my reading the interest on the loan taken by Grameen is 20% per annum. Some goes up to 40% per annum. As the saying goes the interest is needed to pay salaries and many other expenses. A lean and mean, transparent and corruption-free organization will do well.

Fundamentals of Micro-credit
Social Business

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