Purpose Questions from Friends20.com regarding.***Mass Collaborations to UN future summit 2023- are you tech wizard who can help us linkin New York & any other place where citizens demand sustainability for their children? rsvp chris.macrae@yahoo.co.uk
Educators needed to help with any of 30 collaborations making alumni of fazle abed the world's largest partnership in future of civil society and womens sustainability goals www.economistwomen.com
do you have any connections with the netherlands- this is where abed's ideas on how bangladesh can share solutions/rural adaptations world needs on climate, and many ways of leapfrog social-business models 1 2 with technology both to end poverty, empower women, maximise middle class, progress both urban and rural youth can find optimal global partners
if you are interested in future of technology - look at this OECD paper -any questions?
** university graduate collaborations are the way to scale futures we need - do you work on 1) ultra poor, 2 playschool 3 anything else brac university and barcelona global university are celebrating worldwide 2022
Can you help us clarify (what Schumacher imagined as)  the greatest economic miracle by cataloguing  microfranchises and value chains designed round billion poorest village women across Asia; that's the eighth of the human population who raced over last half century to end extreme poverty whose historical "root cause"was how the British Empire had deprived much of Asian continent of access to the machine age that had started glasgow 1760; for 2 centuries access to engineering was mostly distributed where white empires gained...
we start catalogue of 1billiongirls.com with Sir Fazle Abed BA Engineering Glasgow (brac) Bangladesh 1972 to 2019 - some dates are approximate - a date before 1996 means all instruction and people networking was done by word of mouth or by print where literacy existed; definition: by microfranchise we mean a (massively reporiceable) village busienss with positve cash flow however small but 1) so as to minimise risk to franchisee as long as she worked consistently as franchised and where the purpose was for most or all of the value to stay with the local producer; abed was quite happy to design franchises and once proven hand them over to government (because bangladesh began 90% rural the government initially had barely enough to serve citizens and national defences; later its taxation revenue could take over any microfranchise (eg schools) whose cashflow depended partly on grants; abed was always careful not to compete with government but civil society prioritised both rural keynsianism and entrepreneurial revolution by optmising microfranchise design and celebrating sustainable COLLABs;

Giant Leapfroging for womankind: after 1995 some partners brought solar and mobile (digitalisation of global villages meant "you can hear me now" for the first time in quarter of a millennium); also 2001 Abed started a university - at millennium goals parties in silicon valley, he had been asked to share his solutions worldwide...
and So Abed imagined how a university would enable millennials women empowerment to maximally co-create new solutions in line with the Abed/Schumpeter economic model as well as directly action learn how millennials raced to unite the first Sustainability Generation- we welcome corrections -errors are sollely mine chris.macrae@yahoo.uk - to start with 2 notes:probably abed's biggest mistake (which he enetreperenurially turned into a miracle) was spending his life savings on rebuilding 15000 village homes that had been flattened by wae; while sponsor oxfam ranked this as most effective relief project, Abed was mortified; tens of village mothers were dying weekly of starvation; scores of infants of diarrhea; he urgently had to design business solutions solving these local needs; once brac needed a central hub. one of its first operational services was a printing press
MICROFRANCHISE CATALOGUE
sdg2 feed (human beings need clean energy security ie food for all communities; integral to raising life expectancy)
2.1 Rice microfranchise 5+times more village production: Borlaug Green Revolution; Fortunately Quick Start open source knowhow with Chinese Villagers 1970s
2.2 Veggies microfranchise; vitamins especially to prevent stunting infants first 1000 days
2.3 Aarong Village Fare Trade (cash crops eg silks, arts, forestry as early contribution to climate adaptation networking
2.4 Brac Poultry - first total value chain enterprise models- connects 5 village microfranchises - over 1 million jobs
2.5 Brac Dairy -timing investment in powdered milk after EU had stopped dumping
2.6 Up to 14 national agri-enterprise chains designed for poorest inclusion - which 14 agricultures matter most to all your nations farming livelihoods
3 health serve (last mile community mothers networks )
3.1 oral rehydration -ended quarter of infants deaths from diarrhea
3.2 "doordash" 10 basic medicines- micrfranchise 1 para health mom serves same 300 families per week
3.3 vaccination nation
3.4 end tuberculosis -world first methodology
3.5 frugal integration - eg brac wholesales birthing kit at 50 cents and trains midwifes; brac wash sanitation
3.6 James Grant School of Public Health - lead college at Brac Uni 
1 finance4 education - university excepted, village women designed new nation's edu system from scratch -note to nations with century's old education systems
4.1 Village coaching adult microfranchise skilling
4.2 informal primary: world's largest non gov schooling system
4.3 teenage girls livelihood apprentice partnerships -eg with libraries
4.4 university
4.5 designing play schools as worldwide franchise especially emergency/refugee education situations or anywhere community reborn
4.6 education luminaries - every 21st c discipline contribute to millennials as first sustainability generation TF 1 2 3 4 5
5) 100K person COLLAB platforms2020s next
povertyuni at facebook - fazle abed world record jobs---pro-youth educators ----.HOW DO YOU BUILD ONE DOLLAR HOMES?
IN BANGLADESH 1972 FAZLE ABED COMMUNITIES BUILT 16000 HOMES AT COST OF around A DOLLAR EACH- HERE'S HOW AND HOW ONE MAGICAL ECONOMIC TRICK LED TO ANOTHER UNTIL AN ECONOMIC MODEL SUSTAINING BILLION POOREST WOMEN AND A UNIVERSITY COALITION SHARING THIS KNOWHOW GAVE 2021 YOUTH THE OPPORTUNITY TO BE THE FIRST SUSTAINABILITY GENERATION- how shell ceo applied business to society's greatest needs and socety's values to business' most excitingly human purposes
...macrae family arranged 15 student journalists trip ro bangladesh between xmas 2007 and 2018- our notes were shared with 7 states staging social business competitions in usa, economist editors, adam smith scholars and glasgow u journals - our first visit was to the extraordinary dr yunus so we have logged up notes we have verified in a special section corresponding to 2008 in this blog- we discussed yunus knowhow with 2000 mainly students we gave his book to-- however over our 13 years of visits we became ever more interested in the networks of sir fazle abed which after 50 years of relentless empowerment were at his time of death the world's largest ngo partnership and around which he spent his last 10 years asking his friends to make his legacy the largest open university coalition (30 and counting as of summer 2020) of poverty
Thanks to Sir Fazle Abed of BRAC .. bkash (largest cashless bank) 1 .. and largest partnership NGO In the world: Bangladesh celebrates one of girls and sustainability world's top 3 job creators -BRUN
At BRAC we never met banker for the poor- we met 100000+ educators for poor- see 80th birthday note to Abed: his co-workers thanks 

SIR FAZLE ABED BA University Glasgow Naval Architect; 2014 – Honorary Doctor of Laws, Princeton University, US .. 2012 – Doctor of Laws honori causa, University of Manchester, UK … 2010– Honorary degree of Doctor of Laws, University of Bath, UK ...2009 – Honorary Doctorate of Letters, University of Oxford, UK ...2009 – Honorary Doctorate in Humane letters, Rikkyo University, Japan...2008 – Honorary Doctorate of Laws, Columbia University, US...2007 – Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters, Yale University, US...2003 – Honorary Doctorate of Education, University of Manchester, UK...1994 – Honorary Doctorate of Laws, Queen's University, Canada
other partnerships - with berkeley us's first research of bangladeshi-american diaspora ….
books on brac -Quiet Revolution (Marty Chen 1983);  Freedom From Want (smiley 2009);  Driving Development (2016): - downloadable papers 1
Oral Rehydration (Health) Crafts theatre university Best news we free scots have ever heard -48 hours just changed world1000days.world April 2018 is sir fazle abed's 82nd birthday and 1000 days to 2021 - the year china ends poverty, the last decade the UN values human sustainability as possible and how can your will peoples you trust celebrate 2021? China.Japan. Korea. Asean. India. Arctic. Africa. America..1 2 3 4 5 If you can celebrate millennials linking together these 5 Bangladesh-born alumni networks, anything can be possible including economists celebrating how to end poverty,, here are some alumni testimonies brac2.ppt of BRAC @ Bangla - to add rsvp isabella@unacknowledgedgiant.com
Sir Fazle: NB how Industrial era demanded women manage poverty so why not development?curricula of little sister networks: POP, Rice, Nursing, W4E- mobile leapfrogging, open elarning of curricula 7th grade first need to empower livelihoods and sustain community.. people of aliBRACAtlanta Nov 2015 will be our 8th year of linking volunteers around this search for Muhammad Yunus- will we make it ? Dunno - we could sure do with some help from educators who want their students to action yunus type dreams and be in the middle of serving post 2015 millennium goals -chris.macrae@yahoo.co.uk washington DC 240 316 8157 - you can help us search for millennials job impact networks by hemisphere - eg here's our asia pacific progress - where over half of all millennials live


Wednesday, December 31, 2008

grameen bank - audited notes 2008



Grameen Bank At a Glance


this summary draws on history by Muhammad Yunus presented
September 2005
1.0Owned by the Poor
Grameen Bank Project was born in the village of Jobra, Bangladesh, in 1976. In 1983 it was transformed into a formal bank under a special law passed for its creation. It is owned by the poor borrowers of the bank who are mostly women. It works exclusively for them. Borrowers of Grameen Bank at present own 94 per cent of the total equity of the bank. Remaining 6 percent is owned by the government.
2.0No Collateral, No Legal Instrument, No Group-Guarantee or Joint Liability
Grameen Bank does not require any collateral against its micro-loans. Since the bank does not wish to take any borrower to the court of law in case of non-repayment, it does not require the borrowers to sign any legal instrument.
Although each borrower must belong to a five-member group, the group is not required to give any guarantee for a loan to its member. Repayment responsibility solely rests on the individual borrower, while the group and the centre oversee that everyone behaves in a responsible way and none gets into repayment problem. There is no form of joint liability, i.e. group members are not responsible to pay on behalf of a defaulting member.
3.097 per cent Women
Total number of borrowers is 7.06 million, 97 per cent of them are women.
4.0Branches
Grameen Bank has 2,422 branches. It works in 78,101 villages. Total staff is 22,924.
5.0Over Tk 318 billion Disbursed
Total amount of loan disbursed by Grameen Bank, since inception, is Tk 326.96 billion (US$ 6.25 billion). Out of this, Tk 293.26 billion (US$ 5.58 billion) has been repaid. Current amount of outstanding loans stands at TK 33.70 billion (US$ 488.90 million). During the past 12 months (from June’06 to May’07) Grameen Bank disbursed Tk. 50.42 billion (US $ 729.44 million). Monthly average loan disbursement over the past 12 month was Tk 4.20 billion (US $ 60.79 million).
Projected disbursement for 2007 is Tk 65.00 billion (US $ 930 million), i.e. monthly disbursement of Tk 5.42 billion (US $ 77.50 million). End of the year outstanding loan is projected to be at Tk. 40.00 billion (US $ 572 million).
6.0Recovery Rate 98 per cent
Loan recovery rate is 98.28 per cent.
7.0100 per cent Loans Financed From Bank’s Deposits
Grameen Bank finances 100 per cent of its outstanding loan from its deposits. Over 59 per cent of its deposits come from bank’s own borrowers. Deposits amount to 137 per cent of the outstanding loans. If we combine both deposits and own resources it becomes 155 per cent of loans outstanding.
8.0No Donor Money, No Loans
In 1995, GB decided not to receive any more donor funds. Since then, it has not requested any fresh funds from donors. Last installment of donor fund, which was in the pipeline, was received in 1998. GB does not see any need to take any donor money or even take loans from local or external sources in future. GB’s growing amount of deposits will be more than enough to run and expand its credit programme and repay its existing loans.
9.0Earns Profit
Ever since Grameen Bank came into being, it has made profit every year except in 1983, 1991, and 1992. It has published its audited balance-sheet every year, audited by two internationally reputed audit firms of the country. All these reports are available on CD, and some on our web-site : www.grameen.com.
10.0Revenue and Expenditure
Total revenue generated by Grameen Bank in 2006 was Tk 9.43 billion (US $ 134.90 million). Total expenditure was Tk 8.03 billion (US $ 114.90 million). Interest payment on deposits of Tk 3.47 billion (US $ 35.35 million) was the largest component of expenditure (43 per cent). Expenditure on salary, allowances, pension benefits amounted to Tk 2.03 billion (US $ 28.97 million), which was the second largest component of the total expenditure (25 per cent). Grameen Bank made a profit of Tk 1398 million (US $ 20.00 million) in 2006. Entire profit is transferred to a Rehabilitation Fund created to cope with disaster situations. This is done in fulfillment of a condition imposed by the government for exempting Grameen Bank from paying corporate income tax.
11.0Low Interest Rates
Government of Bangladesh has fixed interest rate for government-run microcredit programmes at 11 per cent at flat rate. It amounts to about 22 per cent at declining basis. Grameen Bank’s interest rate is lower than government rate.
There are four interest rates for loans from Grameen Bank : 20% (declining basis) for income generating loans, 8% for housing loans, 5% for student loans, and 0% (interest-free) loans for Struggling Members (beggars). All interests are simple interest, calculated on declining balance method. This means, if a borrower takes an income-generating loan of say, Tk 1,000, and pays back the entire amount within a year in weekly instalments, she’ll pay a total amount of Tk 1,100, i.e. Tk 1,000 as principal, plus Tk 100 as interest for the year, equivalent to 10% flat rate.
12.0Deposit Rates
Grameen Bank offers very attractive rates for deposits. Minimum interest offered is 8.5 per cent. Maximum rate is 12 per cent.
13.0Beggars As Members
Begging is the last resort for survival for a poor person, unless he/she turns into crime or other forms of illegal activities. Among the beggars there are disabled, blind, and retarded people, as well as old people with ill health. Grameen Bank has taken up a special programme, called Struggling Members Programme, to reach out to the beggars. About 94,000 beggars have already joined the programme. Total amount disbursed stands at Tk. 92.62 million. Of that amount of Tk. 60.21 million has already been paid off.
Basic features of the programme are :
1)
Existing rules of Grameen Bank do not apply to beggar members; they make up their own rules.
2)
All loans are interest-free. Loans can be for very long term, to make repayment instalments very small. For example, for a loan to buy a quilt or a mosquito-net, or an umbrella, many borrowers are paying Tk 2.00 (3.4 cents US) per week.
3)
Beggar members are covered under life insurance and loan insurance programmes without paying any cost.
4)
Groups and centres are encouraged to become patrons of the beggar members.
5)
Each member receives an identity badge with Grameen Bank logo. She can display this as she goes about her daily life, to let everybody know that she is a Grameen Bank member and this national institution stands behind her.
6)
Members are not required to give up begging, but are encouraged to take up an additional income-generating activity like selling popular consumer items door to door, or at the place of begging.
Objective of the programme is to provide financial services to the beggars to help them find a dignified livelihood, send their children to school and graduate into becoming regular Grameen Bank members. We wish to make sure that no one in the Grameen Bank villages has to beg for survival.
14.0Housing For the Poor
Grameen Bank introduced housing loan in 1984. It became a very attractive programme for the borrowers. This programme was awarded Aga Khan International Award for Architecture in 1989. Maximum amount given for housing loan is Tk 15,000 (US $ 218) to be repaid over a period of 5 years in weekly instalments. Interest rate is 8 per cent. 6,47,130 houses have been constructed with the housing loans averaging Tk 13,182 (US $ 191). A total amount of Tk 8.53 billion (US $ 204.27 million) has been disbursed for housing loans. During the past 12 months (from June’06 to May’07) 12,545 houses have been built with housing loans amounting to Tk 133.47 million (US $ 2.21 million).
15.0Micro-enterprise Loans
Many borrowers are moving ahead in businesses faster than others for many favourable reasons, such as, proximity to the market, presence of experienced male members in the family, etc. Grameen Bank provides larger loans, called micro-enterprise loans, for these fast moving members. There is no restriction on the loan size. So far 1,085,959 members took micro-enterprise loans. A total of Tk 23.42 billion (US $ 364.91 million) has been disbursed under this category of loans. Average loan size is Tk 21,566 (US $ 313), maximum loan taken so far is Tk 1.2 million (US $ 19,897). This was used in purchasing a truck which is operated by the husband of the borrower. Power-tiller, irrigation pump, transport vehicle, and river-craft for transportation and fishing are popular items for micro-enterprise loans.
16.0Scholarships
Scholarships are given, every year, to the high performing children of Grameen borrowers, with priority on girl children, to encourage them to stay ahead to their classes. Upto to May 2007, scholarships amounting to US$ 560,000 have been awarded to 49,208 children. During 2007, US$ 775,000 will be awarded to about 30,000 children, at various levels of school and college education.
17.0Education Loans
Students who succeed in reaching the tertiary level of education are given higher education loans, covering tuition, maintenance, and other school expenses. By May’07, 16,608 students received higher education loans, of them 15,531 students are studying at various universities; 191 are studying in medical schools, 347 are studying to become engineers, 539 are studying in other professional institutions.
18.0Grameen Network
Grameen Bank does not own any share of the following companies in the Grameen network. Nor has it given any loan or received any loan from any of these companies. They are all independent companies, registered under Companies Act of Bangladesh, with obligation to pay all taxes and duties, just like any other company in the country.
1) Grameen Phone Ltd.
2) Grameen Telecom
3) Grameen Communications
4) Grameen Cybernet Ltd.
5) Grameen Software Ltd.
6) Grameen IT Park
7) Grameen Information Highways Ltd.
8) Grameen Star Education Ltd.
9) Grameen Bitek Ltd.
10) Grameen Uddog (Enterprise)
11) Grameen Shamogree (Products)
12) Grameen Knitwear Ltd.
13) Gonoshasthaya Grameen Textile Mills Ltd.
14) Grameen Shikkha (Education)
15) Grameen Capital Management Ltd.
16) Grameen Byabosa Bikash (Business Promotion )
17) 
Grameen Trust
19.0Grameen Bank-Created Companies
The following companies in the Grameen network were created by Grameen Bank, as separate legal entities, to spin off some projects within Grameen Bank funded by donors. Donor funds transferred to Grameen Fund were given as a loan from Grameen Bank. These companies have the following loan liability to Grameen Bank :Grameen Fund : Tk 373.2 million (US $ 6.38 million)
Grameen Krishi Foundation : Tk 19 million (US $ .33 million)
Grameen Motsho (Fisheries) Foundation : Tk 15 million (US $ .26 million)Grameen Bank provided guarantees in favour of the following organizations while they were receiving loans from the government and the financial organizations. These guarantees are still in effect.Grameen Shakti : Tk 9 million (US $ 0.12 million)
Grameen Motsho (Fisheries) Foundation : Tk 8 million (US $ 0.11 million)Grameen Kalyan
Grameen Kalyan (well-being) is a spin off company created by Grameen Bank. Grameen Bank created an internal fund called Social Advancement Fund (SAF) by imputing interest on all the grant money it received from various donors. SAF has been converted into a separate company to carry out its mandate to undertake social advance activities among the Grameen borrowers, such as, education, health, technology, etc.
20.0Loans Paid Off At Death
In case of death of a borrower, all outstanding loans are paid off under Loan Insurance Programme. Under this programme, an insurance fund is created by the interest generated in a savings account created by deposits of the borrowers made for loan insurance purpose, at the time of receiving loans. Each time an amount equal to 3 per cent of the loan amount is deposited in this account. This amount is transferred from the Special Savings account. If the current balance in the insurance savings account is equal or more than the 3 per cent of the loan amount, the borrower does not need to add any more money in this account. If it is less than 3 per cent of the loan amount, she has to deposit enough money to make it equal.
Coverage of the loan insurance programme has also been extended to the husbands with additional deposits in the loan insurance deposit account. A borrower can get the outstanding amount of loan paid off by insurance if her husband dies. She can continue to borrow as if she has paid off the loan.
Total deposits in the loan insurance savings account stood at Tk 3,840.96 million (US$ 55.71 million) as on May 31, 2007. Up to that date 62,714 insured borrowers and insured husbands died and a total outstanding loans and interest of Tk 414.70 million (US $ 6.57 million) left behind was paid off by the bank under the programme. The families of the deceased borrowers are not be required to pay off their debt burden any more, because the insured borrowers or their insured husbands do not leave behind any debt burden to take care of.
21.0Life Insurance
Each year families of deceased borrowers of Grameen Bank receive a total of Tk 8 to 10 million (US $ 0.12 million to 0.15 million) in life insurance benefits. Each family receives Tk 1,500. A total of 93,444 borrowers died so far in Grameen Bank. Their families collectively received a total amount of Tk 174.05 million (US$ 3.77 million). Borrowers are not required to pay any premium for this life insurance. Borrowers come under this insurance coverage by being a shareholder of the bank.
22.0Deposits
By the end of May, 2007 total deposit in Grameen Bank stood at Tk. 46.21 billion (US$ 670.27 million). Member deposit constituted 59 per cent of the total deposits. Balance of member deposits has increased at a monthly average rate of 1.84 per cent during the last 12 months.
23.0Pension Fund for Borrowers
As borrowers grow older they worry about what will happen to them when they cannot work and earn any more. Grameen Bank addressed that issue by introducing the programme of creating a Pension Fund for old age. It immediately became a very popular programme.
Under this programme a borrower is required to save a small amount, such as Tk 50 (US $ 0.72), each month over a period of 10 years. The depositor gets almost twice the amount of money she saved, at the end of the period. The borrowers find it very attractive. By the end of May, 2007 the balance under this account comes to a total of Tk 13.36 billion (US $ 193.82 million). Tk 3.88 billion (US $ 56.13 million) was added during the past 12 months (June ’06 – May, 2007). We expect the balance in this account to grow by Tk 6.26 billion (US $ 89.54 million) in 2007 making the balance to reach Tk 19.60 billion (US $ 280.36 million).
24.0Loan Loss Reserve
Grameen Bank has a very rigourous policy on bad debt provisioning. If a loan does not get paid back on time it is converted into a special type of loan called “Flexible Loan”, and 50 per cent provisioning is done at the first annual closing. Hundred per cent provisioning is done when flexible loan completes the second year. At its third year, the outstanding amount is completely written off even if the loan repayment still continues.
Balance in the loan loss reserve stood at Tk 2.83 billion (US $ 40.49 million) at the end of 2006 after writing off an amount of Tk 1.72 billion (US $ 24.60 million) during 2006. Out of the total amount written off in the past an amount of Tk 0.64 billion (US $ 9.17 million) has been recovered during 2006.
25.0Retirement Benefits Paid Out
Grameen Bank has an attractive retirement policy. Any staff can retire after completing ten years or more of service. At the time of retirement he receives a retirement benefit in cash. It is usually paid out within a month after retirement. Since this benefit was introduced 6,390 staff members retired and received a total amount of Tk 3.59 billion (US $ 64.03 million) in cash. This amounts to Tk 0.56 million (US $ 10,020) per retiring staff. During the past 12 months 507 staff went on retirement collecting a retirement benefit of Tk 491.20 million (US $ 7.11 million). Average retirement benefit per staff was Tk 0.97 million (US $ 14,024).
26.0Telephone-Ladies
To-date Grameen Bank has provided loans to 294,235 borrowers to buy mobile phones and offer telecommunication services in nearly half of the villages of Bangladesh where this service never existed before. Telephone-ladies run a very profitable business with these phones.
Telephone-ladies play an important role in the telecommunication sector of the country, and also in generating revenue for Grameen Phone, the largest telephone company in the country. Telephone ladies use 16.5 percent of the total air-time of the company, while their number is only 4 per cent of the total number of telephone subscribers of the company.
27.0Getting Elected in Local Bodies
Grameen system makes the borrowers familiar with election process. They routinely go through electing group chairmen and secretaries, centre-chiefs and deputy centre-chiefs every year. They elect board members for running Grameen Bank every three years. This experience has prepared them to run for public offices. They are contesting and getting elected in the local governments. In 2003 local government (Union Porishad) election 7,442 Grameen members contested in the reserved seats for women, 3,059 members got elected. They constitute 24 per cent of the total members elected in the seats reserved for women members in the Union Porishad local government. During 1997 local government election 1,753 members got elected to these reserved seats.
28.0Computerised MIS and Accounting System
Accounting and information management of nearly all the branches (2,287, out of 2,422) has been computerised. This has freed the branch staff to devote more time to the borrowers rather than spend it in paper-work. Branch staff are provided with pre-printed repayment figures for each weekly meeting. If every borrower pays according to the repayment schedule, the staff has nothing to write on the document except for putting the signature. Only the deviations are recorded. Paper work that remains to be done at the village level is to enter figures in the borrowers’ passbooks.
Thirty six zones, out of 39, are connected with the head office, and with each other, through intra-net. This has made data transfer and communications very easy.
29.0Policy For Opening New Branches
New branches are required to fund themselves entirely with the deposits they moblise. No fund from head office or any other office is lent to them. A new branch is expected to break-even within the first year of its operation.
30.0Crossing the Poverty-Line
According to a recent internal survey, 64 per cent of Grameen borrowers’ families of Grameen borrowers have crossed the poverty line. The remaining families are moving steadily towards the poverty line from below.
31.0‘Stars’ for Achievements
Grameen Bank provides colour-coded stars to branches and staff for 100 percent achievement of a specific task. A branch (or a staff) having five-stars indicate the highest level of performance. At the end of December 2006 branches showed the following result.
1553 branches, out of the total of 2,319 branches, received stars (green) for maintaining 100 per cent repayment record.
1627 branches received stars (blue) for earning profit. (Grameen Bank as a whole earns profit because the total profit of the profit-earning branches exceeds the total loss of the loss-incurring branches.)
1375 branches earned stars (violet) by meeting all their financing out of their earned income and deposits. These branches not only carry out their business with their own funds, but also contribute their surpluses to meet the fund requirement of deficit branches.
337 branches have applied for stars (brown) for ensuring education for 100% of the children of Grameen families. After the completion of the verification processes their stars will be confirmed. 54 branches have applied for stars (red) indicating branches those have succeeded in taking all its borrowers’ families (usually 3,000 families per branch) over the poverty line.
The star will be confirmed only after the verification procedure is completed. Each month branches are coming closer to achieving new stars. Grameen staff look forward to transforming all the branches of Grameen Bank into five star branches.



6 decisions

16 decisions of Grameen Bank

  1. We shall follow and advance the four principles of Grameen Bank: Discipline, Unity, Courage and Hard work – in all walks of our lives.
  2. Prosperity we shall bring to our families.
  3. We shall not live in dilapidated houses. We shall repair our houses and work towards constructing new houses at the earliest.
  4. We shall grow vegetables all the year round. We shall eat plenty of them and sell the surplus.
  5. During the planting seasons, we shall plant as many seedlings as possible.
  6. We shall plan to keep our families small. We shall minimize our expenditures. We shall look after our health.
  7. We shall educate our children and ensure that they can earn to pay for their education.
  8. We shall always keep our children and the environment clean.
  9. We shall build and use pit-latrines.
  10. We shall drink water from tubewells. If it is not available, we shall boil water or use alum.
  11. We shall not take any dowry at our sons’ weddings, neither shall we give any dowry at our daughters’ weddings. We shall keep our centre free from the curse of dowry. We shall not practice child marriage.
  12. We shall not inflict any injustice on anyone, neither shall we allow anyone to do so.
  13. We shall collectively undertake bigger investments for higher incomes.
  14. We shall always be ready to help each other. If anyone is in difficulty, we shall all help him or her.
  15. If we come to know of any breach of discipline in any centre, we shall all go there and help restore discipline.
  16. We shall take part in all social activities collectively.

Commonwealth Lecture, 2003

I am very honoured to have been invited to give the Commonwealth Lecture 2003. This is a great privilege for me. I would like to take advantage of this occasion to share my experiences, excitements, frustrations, and, of course, my thoughts with you. (If it makes sense to you, I hope you’ll use your capacity to do something about it. If it doesn’t make any sense, I don’t have to tell you what you should do. You are all experts on it.)
Commonwealth
I have chosen to speak on the most daring of all Millennium Development Goals ? halving poverty by 2015. I have chosen it for two reasons. First, this is the most courageous goal mankind ever set for itself. For the last two decades I have been talking about creating a world free from poverty. I talk about it not because it is unjust to have a world with poverty, which is, of course, true. I talk about it simply because I am totally convinced from my experience of working with poor people that they can get themselves out of poverty if we give them the same or similar opportunities as we give to others. The poor themselves can create a poverty-free world ? all we have to do is to free them from the chains that we have put around them. Secondly, a feeling is getting stronger in me everyday that very few people are really serious about reaching the goal of halving poverty by 2015. Leaders who made this bold announcement went back to their other important commitments feeling happy that they have captured world’s imagination. As the decision has been taken at the highest level, they expect that actions will follow, and a well coordinated powerful machinery will get activated to get the job done. Unfortunately, so far it has not happened. Only the donor agency officials supported by thriving consultancy business are carrying the ball. What is emerging reminds us of the decade of nineties when the global goals were put in the form of “Education for all by the year 2000”, “Health for all by the year 2000”, “Everything else for all by the 2000”. My worry is that these courageous millennium goals may degenerate into a cut and paste job of the earlier edition, merely replacing the “year 2000” by the “year 2015”, with appropriate changes in the text.
Please forgive me if I sound too pessimistic. I assure you that I remain a compulsive optimist despite all the bad signs that I see. I keep hoping that these signs will change.
I am an optimist because I am convinced that poverty is not as difficult a subject as the experts keep warning us about. This is not about space science, or about an intricate design of a complicated machine. This is about people. I don’t see the possibility of a human being becoming a ‘problem’ when it comes to his or her own well-being. All the ingredients for ending poverty of a person always comes neatly packaged with the person himself. A human being is born in this world fully equipped not only to take care of himself (which all other life-forms can do too), but also to contribute in enlarging the well-being of the world as a whole (that’s where special role of a human being lies). Then why should one billion plus people on the planet suffer through a life-time of misery and indignity and spend every moment of their lives looking for food for physical survival alone ? We must find some explanations. This will help us achieve the 2015 goal.
Poverty is not Created by the Poor People
Here is my explanation. Poverty is not created by the poor people. So we shouldn’t give them an accusing look. They are the victims. Poverty has been created by the economic and social system that we have designed for the world. It is the institutions that we have built, and feel so proud of, which created poverty. It is the concepts we developed to understand the reality around us, made us see things wrongly. They took us down a wrong path, and caused misery for people. It is our policies borne out of our reasonings and theoretical framework, with which we explain interactions among institutions and people, that caused this problem for so many human beings. It is the failure at the top – rather than lack of capability at the bottom – which is the root cause of poverty.
The essence of my arguments here today is that in order to reduce, and ultimately eliminate, poverty we must go back to the drawing board. Concepts, institutions, and analytical frame conditions which created poverty, cannot end poverty. If we can intelligently re-work the frame conditions, poverty will be gone, never to come back again.
In this presentation I will draw your attention to five issues which need to be urgently revisited :
(a) widening the concept of employment
(b) ensuring financial services even to the poorest person
(c) recognising every single human being as a potential entrepreneur
(d) recognising social entrepreneurs as potential agents for creating a world with peace, harmony, and progress.
(e) recognising the role of globalisation and information technology in reducing poverty.
Let me narrate how I came to face these issues in the real world and how they impacted on me.
I became involved in the poverty issue not as a policymaker or a researcher. I became involved because poverty was all around me. I could not turn my eyes away from it. In 1974, I found it difficult to teach elegant theories of economics in the classroom in the backdrop of a terrible famine in Bangladesh. Suddenly I felt the emptiness of those theories in the face of crushing hunger and poverty. I wanted to do something immediate to help people around me. Not knowing what I could do, I decided to find a way to make myself useful to others on a one-on-one basis. I wanted to find something specific to do to help another human being just to get by another day with a little more ease than the previous day. That brought me to the issue of poor people’s struggle and helplessness in finding microscopic amounts of money in support of their efforts to eke out a living. I was shocked to discover a woman borrowing US $ 0.25 with the condition that the lender will have the exclusive right to buy all she produces at the price the lender decides ! What a way to recruit slave labour. I decided to make a list of the victims of this money-lending “business” in the village next door to our campus. When my list was done it had the names of 42 victims. Total amount they borrowed was US $ 27 ! What a lesson for an economics professor who was teaching his students the Five Year Development Plan of the country with billions of dollars in investments to help the poor. I could not think of anything better than offering this US $ 27 from my own pocket to get the victims out of the clutches of the moneylenders. The excitement that was created by this action got me further involved in it. The question that arose in my mind was, if you can make so many people so happy with such a tiny amount of money, why shouldn’t you do more of it ?
I have been trying to do just that ever since. First thing I did was to try to connect the poor people with the bank located in the campus. It did not work. The bank said that the poor are not creditworthy. After all my efforts over several months failed I offered to become a guarantor for the loans to the poor. I was stunned by the result. The poor paid back their loans every single time ! But I kept confronting difficulties in expanding the programme through the existing banks. Several years later I decided to create a separate bank for the poor, to give loans without collateral. Finally in 1983 I succeeded in doing that. I named it Grameen Bank or Village bank. It now works all over Bangladesh, giving loans to 2.5 million poor people, 95 per cent women. The bank is owned by the borrowers. In a cumulative way the bank has given a total loans of about US $ 3.75 billion. Generally the repayment rate has been over 98 per cent. It makes profit. Financially, it is self-reliant ? it has stopped taking donor money since 1995, stopped taking loans from domestic market since 1998. It has enough deposits to carry out its lending programme. It gives income generating loans, housing loans, and student loans to the poor families. More than half a million houses have been built with loans from Grameen Bank. Impact studies done on Grameen Bank by independent researchers find that 5 per cent of borrowers come out of poverty every year, children are healthier, education and nutrition level is higher, housing condition is better, child mortality declined by 37 per cent, status of women has been enhanced, ownership of assets by poor women, including housing, has improved dramatically. Now the obvious question that anybody will ask ? if poor people can achieve all this through their own efforts within a market environment, why isn’t the world doing more of this ? Some progress has been made. But much more could have been achieved. One difficulty may have arisen from a confusion.
Grameen’s banking methodology has become known as microcredit. But gradually the label of ‘microcredit’ got into general use for all types of small loans, including agricultural loans, cooperative loans, savings bank loans and rural credits, etc. This has created confusion in policymaking, institution-building, and in designing regulatory framework. If we now classify microcredit into different categories to sort this out, I think we can come out of this confusion. (I think we could have avoided the confusion, to some extent, if we had called it “micro-capital”. That’s what it really is. Bangla term that I use for it translates as “micro-capital”.)
Grameen type microcredit has spread around the world over the last two decades. Nearly 100 countries have Grameen type microcredit programmes. In 1997, a Microcredit Summit was held in Washington DC, which adopted a goal to reach 100 million poorest families with microcredit and other financial services, preferably through the women in those families, by 2005. At that time number of families reached with microcredit was only 7.5 million globally, of which 5 million was in Bangladesh. Today, I am guessing, this outreach has crossed 35 million. I am hoping it will cross half way mark, i.e. 50 million mark, by the end of this year.
But the biggest problem for expanding the outreach is not the lack of capacity, but strangely, the lack of availability of donor money to help microcredit programmes get through initial years until they reach the break-even level. Beyond that level, these programmes can expand their outreach with loans from the market or from deposits. In most countries microcredit NGOs are not allowed to take deposits by the regulatory bodies. If microcredit NGOs could open the doors for taking public deposits, expansion of outreach could be very rapid because this would free them from dependence on donor money. It is a very strange phenomenon in many countries to see that conventional banks with repayment rate of below 70 per cent are allowed to take huge amounts of public deposits year after year, but microcredit institutions with unbroken record of over 98 per cent recovery are not allowed to take public deposits. It is often argued that since microcredit programmes do not come under any law, it is highly risky to allow them to take deposits. This always seems to me a funny argument. Why don’t we create a law to bring the microcredit programmes under a legal cover, create special regulatory commission to regulate them and allow them to take public deposits? This will help local deposits in the villages to work for local poor people, instead of being siphoned off to the big cities to finance big businesses. This is the frustrating part of our experience. One feels like throwing one’s arms in the air and scream in protest.   

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Breaking the vicious cycle of poverty through microcredit

The Grameen Bank is based on the voluntary formation of small groups of five people to provide mutual, morally binding group guarantees in lieu of the collateral required by conventional banks. At first only two members of a group are allowed to apply for a loan. Depending on their performance in repayment the next two borrowers can then apply and, subsequently, the fifth member as well.
The assumption is that if individual borrowers are given access to credit, they will be able to identify and engage in viable income-generating activities – simple processing such as paddy husking, lime-making, manufacturing such as pottery, weaving, and garment sewing, storage and marketing and transport services. Women were initially given equal access to the schemes, and proved not only reliable borrowers but astute enterpreneurs. As a result, they have raised their status, lessened their dependency on their husbands and improved their homes and the nutritional standards of their children. Today over 90 percent of borrowers are women.
cycle of poverty
image of ” cycle of poverty “
Intensive discipline, supervision, and servicing characterize the operations of the Grameen Bank, which are carried out by “Bicycle bankers” in branch units with considerable delegated authority. The rigorous selection of borrowers and their projects by these bank workers, the powerful peer pressure exerted on these individuals by the groups, and the repayment scheme based on 50 weekly installments, contribute to operational viability to the rural banking system designed for the poor. Savings have also been encouraged. Under the scheme, there is provision for 5 percent of loans to be credited to a group find and Tk 5 is credited every week to the fund.
The success of this approach shows that a number of objections to lending to the poor can be overcome if careful supervision and management are provided. For example, it had earlier been thought that the poor would not be able to find renumerative occupations. In fact, Grameen borrowers have successfully done so. It was thought that the poor would not be able to repay; in fact, repayment rates reached 97 percent. It was thought that poor rural women in particular were not bankable; in fact, they accounted for 94 percent of borrowers in early 1992. It was also thought that the poor cannot save; in fact, group savings have proven as successful as group lending. It was thought that rural power structures would make sure that such a bank failed; but the Grameen Bank has been able to expand rapidly. Indeed, from fewer than 15,000 borrowers in 1980, the membership had grown to nearly 100,000 by mid-1984. By the end of 1998, the number of branches in operation was 1128, with 2.34 million members (2.24 million of them women) in 38,957 villages. There are 66,581 centres of groups, of which 33,126 are women. Group savings have reached 7,853 million taka (approximately USD 162 million), out of which 7300 million taka (approximately USD 152 million) are saved by women.
It is estimated that the average household income of Grameen Bank members is about 50 percent higher than the target group in the control village, and 25 percent higher than the target group non-members in Grameen Bank villages. The landless have benefited most, followed by marginal landowners. This has resulted in a sharp reduction in the number of Grameen Bank members living below the poverty line, 20 percent compared to 56 percent for comparable non-Grameen Bank members. There has also been a shift from agricultural wage labour (considered to be socially inferior) to self-employment in petty trading. Such a shift in occupational patterns has an indirect positive effect on the employment and wages of other agricultural waged labourers. What started as an innovative local initiative, “a small bubble of hope”, has thus grown to the point where it has made an impact on poverty alleviation at the national level “.


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Grameen’s Action Plan 1998-2005

Microcredit : Most Powerful Weapon to Fight Poverty
Muhammad Yunus
Twenty-two years back when we began our journey, the word “microcredit” did not exist. Today this is a much discussed, much inspiring word across the globe. Micro-credit is a new technology in the financial world. Like any technology this can be used for the purpose intended by the user.
One institution may use this as a vehicle to enter into the vast untapped market to sell his product, another may see this as a business to make money. Another institution can look at it as an opportunity to create a life-line for the people who never could get on board the mainstream economy, or as a can-opener to open the potentials lying hidden among poor individuals, men and women. Once a technology is made available, users can give it the shape they want, to suit their objectives.
In Grameen we decided to use the micro-credit technology to get the poorest out of poverty. We have exciting successes to report, and we have failures to  grapple with. But the essential fact remains : we don’t give up. We don’t give up particularly because we don’t see anything more promising than micro-credit in addressing the issue of poverty. The Microcredit Summit has inspired us to work harder. My colleagues and I thought long and hard about what we could contribute towards meeting the Summit’s goal, and how we could use our experience over the last 22 years to guide us. We finally came up with a Plan of Action that we were happy with.

Our goals
As you can see in our Institutional Action Plan that you have in front of you, our goals are:
  • To expand our outreach in Bangladesh to 3 million borrowers by 2005;
  • To ensure that 70% of Grameen Bank’s borrowers are above the poverty line by 2005;
  • To maintain our focus on women, the poorest, and being financially self-sufficient; and
  • To reach 10 million borrowers one-tenth of the Summit’s goal through Grameen Trust’s Grameen Bank Replication Program.
I would like to share with you my thoughts on  what it will take to reach these goals, and what it will take all of us to reach our collective goals.
As you can see in our Action Plan, we have added 200,000 borrowers since the Microcredit Summit was held, and will add another  700,000 between now and the year 2005. While this may seem like a large number, in percentage terms it is one of the slowest rates of growth in our history. Instead of focusing the bulk of our energies on horizontal expansion in Bangladesh, we are concentrating on getting our existing borrowers above the poverty line. One goal is to have at least 2 million families among the 3 million who are members of Grameen in 2005 to be living a poverty-free life.

How do we measure success?
How do we define “poverty-free life”? We have talked to our borrowers about what a poverty-free life means to them, and then operationalized it in a rigorous test that our staff and outside evaluators can measure quickly and easily.
We settled on ten indicators of living a poverty-free life. They are having: (1) a tin-roof house, (2) beds or cots for all members of the family, (3) access to safe drinking water, (4) access to a sanitary latrine, (5) all school-age children attending school, (6) sufficient warm clothing for the winter, (7) mosquito-nets, (8) a home vegetable garden, (9) not having a food shortage even during the most difficult time of a very difficult year, (10) and having sufficient income-earning opportunities for all adult members of the family. We will be monitoring this on our own and are inviting local and international researchers to help us track our successes, and setbacks, as we head towards this goal.
Ensuring that more than two-thirds of our borrowers are poverty-free will require that we do our banking business more efficiently and that we undertake an aggressive vertical expansion.
We commit ourselves to come up with innovative programs through creative use of newly available technology  in all areas of knowledge, in order to expedite the process of getting Grameen borrowers out of poverty and to make sure that they can stay out of poverty for the rest of their lives.
We have been introducing new loan and savings products. Our present loan products include general loans, housing loans, seasonal loans, equipment leasing, and loans to finance the entire cost of higher education for children of Grameen families.
We are collaborating with world leaders in many fields in order to bring the latest technologies to serve the interests of the poor.
Grameen Phone is an example. This one-year-old cellular telephone company brings income generating opportunities to the telephone ladies in Grameen villages who sell telephone services to the rural population. This company was created in partnership with Telenor of Norway. We intend to set up 50,000 Grameen Bank borrowers with cellular phones over the next 6 years. We see that a woman who becomes a telephone lady of her village can easily earn a net profit of $2 per day, or $700 per year. That is triple the average per capita income in Bangladesh. We are exploring new partnerships as well. All of the companies we are establishing will in some direct way be helpful to our borrowers’ efforts to cross the poverty line faster. Most of these companies will ultimately be owned by Grameen borrowers, as Grameen Bank is today. We are mobilizing funds  to finance these companies from commercial sources as well as through a new program called Grameen Investments, through which individuals can invest funds for 1 to 5 years to finance new and existing Grameen programs. We will be paying interest on these funds.
For any of this to have meaning, Grameen Bank must maintain, and even strengthen, its focus on the poorest women, and also continue to be financially viable. We will continue to instruct our staff to search out the women in new Grameen villages who do not approach us, but instead shy away from us, because they think our program is not for them. We try many kinds of techniques to convince them that Grameen Bank is for them, and sometimes it takes a long time. But we tell our staff, “We have all the time in the world. Wait for the poorest. Your motivation work will pay off.”
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clean energy grameen shakti

Programapproach

Financial Approach :
GS is one of the first companies to successfully develop a financial mechanism to promote renewable energy technologies in rural areas on a commercial basis. This financial model has helped GS to reach break even point in 2000 and scale up its program. The model is based on the following key features :
Payments based on installments which makes it easier for clients to pay for GS renewable energy products. This helps GS to expand its market and at the same time reduce its unit costs.
Reduction of operating costs by locally producing all SHS accessories, expect solar panels and batteries, in its production center. Decentralization of production and marketing activities has led to the development of an effective program at minimum costs
Multiple tasks carried out by GS engineers who are not only technical engineers, but also social engineers. This also helps to keep overhead costs to the minimum.
Feasibility and break even analysis to identify market potential of a product and develop appropriate financial packages. This helps GS to set realistic targets and reduce financial risks.
The key financial packages developed by GS till to date include :
Financing Solar Home Systems :
The user has to pay 15% of the total price as down payment. The remaining 75% of the total cost is to be repaid within 36 months with 6% ( flat rate) service charges.
The customer has to pay 25% of the total price as down payment. The remaining 75% of the cost is to be repaid within 24 months with 4% (flat rate) service charge
The customer has to pay 15% of the total price >The remaining 85% of the loan amount is to be repaid through 36 post dated cheques with 5% (flat rate) service charge
Micro-utility : The customer has to pay 10% of the total price as down payment. The remaining 90% of the loan amount is to be repaid by 42 checques. There is no service charge
4% discount is allowed on printed price in case of cash purchase
Financing Biogas Plants:
The buyer pays 25% of the total cost as down payment. The remaining 75% of the cost is to be repaid through 24 monthly installments with 8% service charge ( flat rate ) within 2 years.
The buyer can construct his plant with his own funds under the supervision of GS engineers. In this case, half of the technical and supervision fees will be paid as advance and the rest will be paid after the commissioning of the plant
Marketing Approach :
GS as a social entrepreneur, is proactive in knowing and meeting the needs of the clients and ensuring they get the best services such as a through an efficient after sales service.For example, sale of SHSs surged upwards when the villagers became convinced that SHSs provide a workable solutions to their energy needs and are healthy and cost effective in the long run.GS has a very good reputation among its rural clients. Since renewable energy technologies are expensive and users only pay for a working system, GS focuses on providing excellent maintenance services including inclusive warranties. GS also motivates its rural clients to keep their commitment and ensures good practices by giving them gifts such as umbrellas for making payments on time and clocks for signing post warranty agreements with GS.
Intense grass root promotion: to develop awareness about renewable energy technologies through holding demonstrations, speaking to village leaders, distributing brochures, organizing science fairs at the local level, demonstrations and workshops for policy makers etc. GS is at present
Community involvement & social acceptance: through bringing local benefit. both economical and social such as (i) training and recruiting local youths as GS technicians, (i) reaching out to women by providing them training and opportunities to make extra income, (iii) providing scholarship for children of SHS owners, (iv) protecting the environment by collecting discarded batteries, helping poultry owners get rid of their wastes through biogas technology etc .
Effective after sales service to guarantee and safe guard the investments made by GS clients which includes : (i) free monthly checkups during payments of installment; (ii) post warranty service through annual maintenance contact with GS for solar home systems, (iii) inclusive warranty system plus a buy back system under which a buyer may return his system to GS when his area gets connected to the grid, (iv) training of users and technicians so that they can take care of their systems. GS has also taken steps to decentralize its production, marketing and repair, maintenance activities through Grameen Technology Centers to ensure that its rural clients receive better services at their doorsteps at less cost.
Understanding Market Demand : This is the key to GS success and involves (i) meeting the basis needs of its rural clients and giving them quality products at minimum costs; such as choosing medium sized biogas plants for poultry owners so that they can get rid of their wastes and also meet their energy needs (ii) upgrading its existing products and developing new products such as LEDs, DC-DC converters, safety devices for black/white televisions, mobile phone chargers etc, in response to consumer demands; (iii) emphasizing innovative approaches to meet the diverse needs of rural people such as community biogas plants to reach lower income households who cannot afford a biogas plant individually, payment through slurry to make it easier for biogas plant owners to pay back, introduction of small Solar Home Systems for the low income rural households etc.
Tailoring services to the needs of the clients : GS develops close relationship with clients to understand and meet their needs. For example, in its biogas program, GS engineers constructs biogas plants in close consultation with their clients and gives them the best advice. They also remain in touch with their clients to provide on the spot solutions to their problems. They provide strict quality control and ensure that the best materials are chosen and the plants are constructed as per specifications. GS engineers also hold in-depth discussions with their prospective clients to find out about their social and economical needs. For example, poultry owners are interested in larger sized biogas plants which would allow them to get rid of their poultry wastes and meet their energy needs at the same time. On the other hand, households with few livestock or poultry are more interested in domestic biogas plants which meet their household needs and at the same time sell biogas to few of the surr ounding households.
Application & Income :
GS believes increasing the income generation through the use of renewable energy technologies is the best way to ensure a sustainable renewable energy program. For this reason, GS has developed the following financial and technical packages :
Micro-Utility Model :
There are some very poor consumers who cannot afford a complete solar home system. In order to help such consumers, GS has introduced micro-utility system. Under this model, one entrepreneur installs the system at his own premise and share the load with some of his neighbours. Owner of the system is responsible for making installment payments to GS , more than 50% of which is covered by the rents he collects from the users of his system. Micro-utility model has become very popular in the rural market places and has helped to increase business turnover by extending business hours. More than 1000 micro-utility systems are operating in the rural market places.
Polli Phone :
Community Biogas Plants :
Bangladesh is one of the most densely populated countries of the world. Most people especially in the rural areas live either as joint families or as groups where each household joins another household, usually relatives living very near each other. GS has already identified the rural households which have the potentiality of setting up biogas plants. Joint families and relatives living near each other can share the cost and benefit of owning and operating a biogas plant. GS is also seeking to bring low income groups under its biogas program by linking them with micro-credit as well as providing them with alternative ways to pay back. For example, a farmer may be provided with livestock so he may set up a biogas plant and at the same time generate income.
Linking biogas technology with poultry and organic fertilizer business :
GS is linking up biogas technology with live stock and poultry business including agriculture and fisheries to develop a sustainable biogas program. Poultry firms are interested in biogas technology because it helps them to get rid of poultry wastes and at the same time meet their energy needs as well as earn extra income by selling biogas and slurry Same is true for livestock owners. Farmers would be interested in buying slurry from biogas plant owners because this reduces their farming costs and increases their yield. Many enterprises who do not have poultry or livestock are also interested in biogas plants . Others own too few poultry or live stock to construct biogas plants which would meet their energy needs. These people can buy poultry litter or cow dung from poultry and live stock owners for their biogas plants. Therefore an intermediary entrepreneur class would develop who will sell poultry litter, cow dung and slurry linking biogas technology with agriculture and live stock business
Entrepreneurship Development :
GS wants entrepreneurs to play the major role in developing and promoting diverse approaches to meet the energy needs of rural people through a decentralized energy system. At the same time GS emphasizes a standard approach which must have efficient after sales service, strict quality control and quality products at minimum costs. Development of entrepreneurs is an extension of GS’s market based approach to make private enterprises a major force in the energy sector. As a first step toward this goal GS has set up GTCs which will act as resource centers to provide technical and financial assistance to entrepreneurs. Planned services to be provided through GTCs will include technical and business training for entrepreneurs, business and technical advise, onsite trouble shooting, help to link up with commercial and technical institutions for further help. GS will especially help these start-up organizations with inventory management and bulk buying which will reduce their costs significantly. GS has already trained 300 women technicians on solar technology who will soon start working as GS certified technicians. GS is also training 200 improved cook technicians who will train others as well as produce and commercialize improved cook stoves on behalf on Grammen Shakti. It is expected that many of them will soon start their own operations in a dealership arrangement with GS. These trained technicians who have also been given business training will lay the basis of developing renewable energy entrepreneurs at the rural level. It is expected that in the long run different players would enter the renewable energy field and innovative and diversified approaches would be developed to reach the people with energy.
Training & Capacity development
GS focuses on training to develop both in house and local capacity :
Training of users so that they can take effective care of their systems,
Training of local technicians and masons so that cost effective and efficient after sales service is available at the doorsteps of rural clients
Training of in-house staff both home and abroad to develop them in to both effective technical and social engineers
Training of women technicians through Grameen Technology Centers to decentralize GS’s production, marketing and repair, maintenance services
Monitoring & Evaluation
Impact
Solar Home Systems – Better Life More Income :
Solar Home Systems ( SHSs ) has brought lighting facilities and related advantages such as mobile phones, computers, internet connection to remote, isolated areas including islands, Chittagong Hill tracts. This has brought significant improvements in the standard of livings of the people – better light for children education and household activities for women, reduced in-door air pollution, more security and income generation opportunities including reduced work load for women etc
Businesses such as rice/saw mills, grocery /tailoring shops, restaurants, market places etc with the help of SHSs have increased their income by extending working hours after dusk. ( Case 1: A Saw mill owner, Mr. Hanif has increased his business turnover because of extended business hours). Besides PV systems have opened up new opportunities for employment and income generation activities such as community television centers, electronic repairing shops, mobile phone shops etc. (Case 2: Mr Manik has increased efficiency with SHS at his electronic repair shop).
In addition women are enjoying hazardless and hassle free lighting systems in their daily life. They are getting the opportunities to earn extra income by utilizing their time after dusk by sewing, poultry farming or setting home based industries. (Case 3 : Laxmi Rani is running a successful handicraft industry with the help of SHS)
Two very successful applications of SHS are micro-utility model and SHS powered Polli-phone. Micro-utility – an initiative by GS has provided thousands of shopkeepers with extended business hours and increased business turnover by giving them the opportunity to share lights of a SHS among themselves ( Case 4 : Mr. Umar renting solar lamps to other shopkeepers) Polli Phone has created a successful synergy between women and technology – thousands of women are running profitable mobile phones business in off–grid areas; their mobile phones powered by GS installed SHSs. ( Case 5 :
Different religious institutions such as mosques, pagodas, churches are increasingly using SHSs. Different community based organizations such as health clinics, educational institutions are also using SHSs.
Biogas Plants : Offering Fuel, Health and Income Solutions
Biogas plants giving the rural people especially their women the opportunity to cook in a pollution free environment – smokeless kitchens . It has also reduced their cooking time, rescued them from the burden of collecting fuel. (Case 1 : Ruksana Parveen using biogas for cooking )
Increasing price of kerosene, diesel and other conventional energy sources has made biogas technology an attractive alternative for many rural households. Many rural households are buying biogas at Tk 500- Tk. 300 per month and finding this alternative more cost effective than traditional sources. Therefore owners of domestic size biogas plants are not only using biogas themselves, they are also selling this gas to their neighbours. They are also using the slurry to increase their agricultural yields. ( Case 2 : Haji Fazal Ali making extra income from renting biogas to others). Small businesses such as tea-stalls and small street side hotels are also renting biogas from others to meet their energy needs.
Biogas technology has become very popular among poultry owners . They are constructing medium to large sized plants to get rid of their poultry wastes and at the same time earn extra income through selling of biogas and slurry. ( Case 3: Khaled Hossein using biogas to produce energy and generate income ).
Orphanages and some industries have become interested in biogas technology to meet their energy needs and generate income. For example, Muslim Mission has constructed biogas plants on its premise and has signed agreement with GS to manufacture and promote organic fertilizers. kber Ali, a mid scale business from Jessore manufactures bitumen as well as operating a steel work. His large factory is co-fueled by a biogas plant. Though he has a poultry farm, he buys poultry droppings and cow dung from surrounding farmers. Grameen Dnaone plans to set up biogas plants to power its rural based industry.
Laying the Foundation for Rural Economic Development :
Rural energy technologies promoted by GS has brought efficient energy and modern facilities such as mobile phones, internet within the reach of the rural people and given the opportunity to set up modern businesses such as SHS powered mobile shops, computer centers with internet connections etc
Bangladesh and rural communities would reduce their dependence on outside for meeting their energy needs. A cost effective and decentralized energy system would develop, implemented through renewable energy entrepreneurs following a market based approach
Biogas technologies has boosted livestock and agro businesses by turning poultry and live stock wastes into energy which has made poultry and live stock farms energy self sufficient. Poultry / livestock business has also been connected with agriculture through the promotion of slurry which is the source of high quality organic fertilizer. Agriculture cost will come down and yield will increase from using organic fertilizers
Many small businesses has started using biogas as an alternative source of energy. In the future, many more industries will become interested in locating at the rural level and using biogas technology to produce energy.
Rural based manufacturing industries for the production of SHS and other renewable energy accessories would develop bringing capital flow and employment in the rural areas.
Linkage businesses would develop such as radio, TV , mobile repairing shops, manufacture of TV, radio, mobile phone and other electronic goods parts at the rural level
Complementary businesses would also see a boost such as construction material businesses, transportation businesses etc
Developing Social Capital :
GS promoted renewable energy technologies has brought significant improvements in the lives of women. They have been saved from indoor air pollution, their cooking time have been reduced and they can complete their household activities faster because of better quality of life. All these have given them extra time take part in income generating activities
Quality of live for children have improved. They can study by solar and watch TVs and listen to radios. Rural people have been connected to the outside world through TVs, videos, mobile phones and internet. This has increased their social awareness
Many schools, madrassas are using SHS for education. They are also using biogas technology to meet their energy needs as well as generate income
Practices hazardous to health have been reduced with subsequent decrease in health costs. Many Clinics are also using solar light for operation and other activities
Biogas technology has laid the basis for a sustainable waste management program suitable for rural areas would be implemented as wastes of all sorts are transformed into biogas or slurry
Practices hazardous to environment have been reduced such as cutting of trees, emission of polluting gas in the air, over use of biomass and especially use of slurry as organic fertilizers have reduced the depletion of soil nutrients.



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gshikkha

Grameen Shikkha is a company in the family of Grameen companies. Established in 1997, Grameen Shikkha is registered with the office of the Registrar, Joint Stock Companies as well as with the NGO Affairs Bureau. Its main objectives are to promote mass education in rural areas, organize facilities for education and training, provide financial support in the form of loans and grants for the purpose of education, use information technology to bring an end to illiteracy, and development of education, promote new technologies and innovate ideas and methods for development of education, and conduct research and undertake experimentation in the field of education.

In addition, its major thrust is on Scholarship Management. It has raised more than Tk. 85 million (about US $ 1.25 million) to give scholarships to about 1232 poor meritorious students perpetually. For every US $ 1,000 contribution a perpetual scholarship is created. Administration of the scholarship is done by Grameen Shikkha.

Since 1997 Grameen Shikkha has been conducting various education and awareness programs in various districts in Bangladesh. Grameen Shikkha’s current programs  include Pre-schools, Child Development Centers, Early Childhood Development, Parenting, Non-formal Education for Slum Children and Arsenic Mitigation in various districts of Bangladesh
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For the past several months I was being forewarned by my friends in the USA that the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) is “going to get you” — they are coming up with a damaging report on Grameen Bank. WSJ’s Asian bureau chief Daniel Pearl came to see me briefly at my office in August, on the day he was leaving Bangladesh. Later he sent me questions by e-mail. I answered. Finally, on November 27, the report appeared, and, as forewarned , it was damaging to Grameen.
A Story Which WSJ Missed
The WSJ missed an opportunity to deliver some good news to the world at a time when we are so hungry for it. Appropriate story and the headline could have been : “Grameen Bank Overcoming Repayment Snag : Proves Credit for the Poor Sustainable Under Difficult Conditions”. That’s what it really is. Grameen’s problem loans have declined over the past sixteen months by 50 per cent. Trend shows that the repayment rate will reach 95 per cent within the next six months. We expect that by December, 2002 repayment rate will reach 98 per cent. Instead, the WSJ chose to present a snap shot to the world, ignoring the positive trend, to show that the repayment rate at the time of writing the report was 90 per cent, instead of 95 per cent, and built the major thrust of the story around it.
I felt very happy that the WSJ endorsed micro-credit as a “great idea”. It indeed is. It is a very effective instrument to empower the poor, particularly the poor women, in all cultures and economies of the world. It is cost-effective, sustainable and works in a business-way. It gives a poor person a chance to take destiny in his/her own hands and get out of poverty with his/her own efforts. The world, which has committed itself to reduce the number of poor people by half by 2015, will find micro-credit a powerful tool in its tool box.
The WSJ article points out that Grameen Bank (a) is not as good as it claims. It conceals its repayment rate to make it look good, (b) Grameen’s accounting system, the procedure for determining the overdues, and making provisions for them does not follow industry standard, (c) And predicts that Grameen’s future will be worse because of it is “delaying inevitable defaults and hiding problem loans”.
Whatever accounting system, procedures and definitions we have today, we had them with us for the last twenty-five years. Grameen is probably the most researched institution in the world. Books have been written on those research findings, students got their Ph.D.’s around the world doing their research on Grameen, the World Bank conducted a multi-year multi-million dollar research project on Grameen, thousands of experts visited Grameen poring over our books — nobody headed for the alarm on Grameen’s system, procedures and definitions. Many expressed their discomfort, dissatisfaction, unhappiness that we do not follow the “industry standard” — but did not think our system and procedure had any fault. We always argued that as long as we are generating all the information to produce every single table, index or ratio familiar in the conventional banking world anybody can translate our information into their information. We do what we need to do. It works fine with us.
Conventional banks do not lend money to the poor because they do not consider them creditworthy. We demonstrated that there is nothing wrong with the poor. Bank rules procedures and concepts are at fault. We created a bank based on completely new set of premises and procedures. Unlike conventional banks, this bank is based on trust. We have no legal instruments between lender and the borrower. Grameen is owned by the borrowers. Nine elected representatives of the borrowers make up the board of Grameen, besides three top government officials (usually from the finance ministry) and the CEO. The board was chaired by the finance secretary to the Government of Bangladesh from 1991 to 1996, and succeeded by Professor Rehman Sobhan, an internationally reputed economist, who is still the chairman.
A Counter-Culture
Grameen had to create a banking counter-culture of its own. Grameen’s central focus is to help poor borrower move out of poverty, not making money. Making profit is always recognised as a necessary condition of success to show that we are covering costs. Volume of profit is not important in Grameen in money-making sense, but important as an indicator of efficiency. We would like to make more profit so that we can reduce interest rate — and pass on the benefits to the borrowers. In Grameen system when a borrower cannot pay back we try to activate our system to help her overcome her problems, rather than go in a punishing mode.
We consider credit as a human right. We built our system on the faith that the poor always pay back. Some times they take longer than the originally scheduled time period, sometimes natural disasters like flood, drought, cyclone, etc and political unrest, rules and procedures of the bank, make it difficult or impossible to pay back; but given the opportunity they pay back. Non-repayment is not a problem created by the borrowers, it is created by factors external to them.
We have always carefully avoided the practices of the conventional banks to make sure we do not fall into the same logical loop which kept the poor out from financial institutions. Grameen had to create new systems to balance financial and human considerations. For example, it presents loan information separately for women and men, lists meticulously every single business of the borrowers in its annual report, and recognizes that a house is not just a house, but a workplace for the poor women, something that is categorised as a ‘consumption’ loan by the conventional banks is actually a ‘production’ loan for the poor. Grameen is a system based on human-relationships, not on threats of penalty imposed by legal system or any other agency. Grameen required new style of business, new banking culture of its own.
Sometimes people who are used to conventional banking become suspicious of Grameen because it is different. It is a conflict of two different banking cultures. Just because they do not understand us, they think we are wrong. When they spend some time with us with patience they start enjoying the exciting world of Grameen banking.
Grameen is owned by 2.4 million borrower, 95 per cent of them women. It is almost like a co-op. It is a closed club. Borrowers save, they borrow. Over the last 25 years they took cumulative total loans of Tk 151.88 billion ($ 3.5 billion) and repaid Tk 139.17 billion ($ 3.2 billion). The present outstanding amount is Tk 12.71 billion. When we “worry” about repayment problems, we are “worrying” about the borrowers who already paid back collectively $ 3.2 billion ! The WSJ looks at the dollar figures and gets worried. We look at our hardworking struggling poor women who already demonstrated their capability to repay their loans many times over. We have good reasons to feel confident. Today 85 per cent of the 2.4 million borrowers are paying back their loans with clockwork precision. Only 15 per cent of them are having difficulties in paying back — that situation was created by our standardised procedures. Borrowers are also depositors. they have a total of Tk 6.5 billion as balance in their savings account. Fifteen per cent of the borrowers who are having temporary difficulties in paying back their loans also have their balance in their savings accounts.
Grameen has stopped accepting new donor money for its operation since 1995. It has borrowed Tk 3.0 billion ($ 60 million) locally to give fresh loans during the devastating flood of 1998. This amount will be fully repaid in May, 2002, without requiring Grameen to borrow again to replace it. Now Grameen generates enough savings, mostly from its borrowers, to repay its loans and finance its future growth. Because of steady flow of deposits, Grameen does not see any need to borrow in future. It has always paid back its domestic and international loans exactly on the dot. It will continue to do so in future.
Repayment Problem
Repayment problem was born because of our standard methodology applied in a national disaster situation, not because of the borrowers reluctance to pay back. It always amazes me how sincere the poor are in paying back their loans. If a bank staff meets a defaulting borrower, who has discontinued her contact with the bank for a period of several years, and reminds her about the outstanding loan, she never says “Forget it”, or “Who Cares”. She always says: “I am sorry I could not pay back. I’ll like to do that as soon as I can”. Given an opportunity she always does that.
We created the repayment problem in two ways. First immediately after devastating flood of 1998 (half of the country was under flood water for ten weeks, water flowed over the roof-tops) we disbursed fresh loans without requiring the borrowers to pay back the existing loans. We explained to them that they do not have to worry about the existing loans, this will be converted into a long-term loan. New loans will be their current loan. But we did not change the status of the previous loans in our books. Our internal reasoning was that this will make monitoring more easy, even though repayment rate will show a decline. We’ll always understand why the decline took place. But in reality repayment problem did not remain as an accounting phenomenon, it became a real phenomenon — some borrowers found the loan burden too heavy and discontinued paying their installments.
The WSJ says we forgave the previous loans during the flood. This is not correct. Grameen never forgives loans. Bulk of the amount we are now describing as overdue loans are these previous loans.
New Generalised Grameen System
Gradually we started noticing that our rules were not appropriate for the borrowers in this situation. We took a long preparation to develop a new flexible system and field-tested it over months. We finally introduced the new system in September of 2000. It is a simplified and generalised Grameen system. This can work equally well both in normal and disaster situations. It allows the enterprising borrowers to move ahead faster. Everybody fell in love with it. Borrowers loved it, staff loved it — because it is so simple, it can offer tailor-made loans rather than previous single-size-fits-all type of all loans. Good news for the WSJ, the questions they raised about provisioning, defining overdue, repayment rate etc have become irrelevant in the context of Grameen’s new generalised system.
New system, basically has two types of loans — (a) Basic loan, and (b) Flexible loan. A borrower can take a basic loan for any income-generating purpose. It can be of any duration mutually agreed between the bank and the borrower, unlike the old system where all loans were for one year. Basic loans can be for 3 months or 6 months, or for 2 years or 3 years. Unlike the old system, now amounts of weekly repayments can be varied during the loan period, according to the pre-negotiated amounts documented in an agreed repayment schedule.
Borrower has to pass through a very strict six-monthly loan quality check-point. If a borrower fails to pay the total amount she is supposed to pay, according to the repayment schedule, during the past six-months, she is classified as a defaulter. Now the entire unrepaid amount, even if it is the first six months of a 3 year loan, becomes overdue. Hundred per cent provision will be made for all overdue loans, unless it is converted into a “flexible loan”.
If a defaulter wants to continue to repay her overdue loans she can do it by converting the overdue amount into a flexible loan. Flexible loan is actually a rescheduled loan. She can negotiate her repayment schedule. Fifty per cent provisioning will be made for the outstanding amount under the flexible loan, even if her repayment rate is 100 per cent.
If a borrower fails to repay the flexible loan according to the schedule, the loan becomes overdue, and hundred per cent provisioning will be made for the overdue loan. The borrower will again have the option to renegotiate the loan and convert it into a flexible loan.
Fifty-five per cent of borrowers of Grameen have already moved from the old system of multiple loans to generalised single loan system. Now it has become easy to check the quality of the loans; basic loans mean loans having hundred per cent repayment, flexible loans mean loans at risk. Year 2002 will be the year of completion of the transition process from the old system to the new system. By the time this transition process will be completed our guess is 85 per cent of the borrowers will be on basic loans and 15 per cent on flexible loans, aggregate repayment rate will be 98 per cent and above. In the new system the repayment rate is determined by the ratio between what was the weekly installment the borrower agreed to pay on a particular week according to the repayment schedule, and what is the amount she actually paid. It would no longer be determined under the old method. We’ll not have any misunderstanding left on this issue.
Fifty-one per cent of our 1170 branches now have switched to computerised book-keeping and MIS. We hope to have 85 per cent of our branches come into computerised book-keeping and MIS by the end of 2002. This makes it easier for the generalised Grameen system to offer all its attractive features for the benefit of the borrowers.
New system has brought another excitement and inter-branch competition in Grameen. This system has introduced a grading system for branches. This grading system awards colour-coded “Stars” to indicate the quality of performance of a branch. If a branch (typically 2,500 borrowers) has 100 per cent repayment record for two consecutive years it is awarded a green star. If the repayment falls below it during any two successive years, the star is lost. A branch can similarly earn stars for earning profit (blue star), for carrying out its entire loan programme with its own deposits, even generating surplus of deposits for the use of other branches (violet star), by making sure that hundred per cent of the children of Grameen families are in school or have graduated from primary school (brown star), by making sure that all the borrowers in the branch have crossed over the poverty line, certified through an evaluation of each family with a rigourous ten-point test of Grameen (red star). Branch staff can actually wear the stars as a badge of honour and display their stars in the branch stationery to show their achievement.
Now there are 388 branches with one star or more. There are 10 branches with 4 stars. No five star branch yet. We are expecting that by the end of next year branches with atleast one star will increase to 550, that is nearly one-half of all branches. We hope to find atleast one branch with 5 stars. Someday we hope all our branches will be five star branches. That’s our mission — to make all our branches five star branches. Our 12,000 staff work very hard to make that dream come true.
Central Bank Supervision
We can raise our repayment rate to 100 per cent instantaneously by a simple decision to write off all our overdue loans. We have more money in our loan-loss reserve (Tk 3.8 billion) than the present overdue loans. But we chose not to go that way, we want to do it the harder way — by improving the repayment situation and recover the overdue amount. We do not want to abandon our borrowers/owners by disqualifying them to remain within the Grameen fold. We want them to change their life with Grameen, by solving their problems with Grameen. We don’t want to push them away with their problems. We never think of walking away from them. If they don’t succeed, there is no reason for us to exist.
The WSJ gives the impression that Grameen makes less than required loan-loss provisioning. Industry standard in Bangladesh is set by the central bank of Bangladesh. We make more generous loan-loss provisioning than the central bank wants us to do. Central bank of Bangladesh has the responsibility of audit and inspection over us. They check our books carefully. We have never heard any complaint from them about our provisioning criteria.
Factual Error
WSJ says PKSF was set up in 1991 “to distribute foreign funds to other Bangladesh micro-lenders”. WSJ could not be more wrong. You give a bad name to another reputed world-class organization. PKSF was set up to resist donor money. It started out by stubbornly refusing donor money which was put at its doors. PKSF did that not because it did not need money, it did that because it did not want the dependency that comes with receiving the donor money. PKSF started out with 100 per cent Bangladesh government money. It developed its own organizational and operational style. It established its own credibility as a sound financial organization. When it knew exactly what it wants, how it wants, firmly set up the standard for its programme, only then it opened its doors for the donor money at its own terms. Now international donors come to give money to PKSF. But since PKSF knows how much money it needs, and for what, most of the time PKSF is saying, “No, thank you” to the donors.
Concealing Information
Grameen always tried to remain as transparent as an organization can be. It started to distribute widely its monthly statement containing all basic information about its operation from February, 1980, nearly twenty-two years back, when it was not even a bank yet. It contained all information about disbursement, repayment, borrower numbers etc. all disaggregated by gender, and by region. It never failed to produce it and distribute it globally every single month for the last 262 months ! Among the many universities, donors, and libraries who receive this monthly statement US Library of Congress is one. One may not like our information format, but nobody can complain that we do not share our information. Web-site never became part of our management system. It was the product of IT enthusiasts in the bank. It remained unattended, and unupdated. Sorry that it carried wrong information on our repayment rate. Your reporter collected samples of old monthly statements beginning from the very first one in 1980 and quoted from the most-recent monthly statement, but did not mention its existence in the report.
We publish our Annual Report every year. This contains, besides many other interesting economic, financial, and social information, balance sheet, profit and loss accounts, and cash flow statement for the year, audited by two top audit firms of the country, firms which are affiliated with international audit firms. Nobody ever complained that these reports lacked anything by way of disclosure.
Safety of Depositors’ money
Ninety per cent of Grameen deposits come from the borrowers. They borrow several times more money from Grameen than the money they put in their accounts. So the safety of their deposits is automatically guaranteed. Again, they are the owners of the bank too.


Awards and Degrees of Muhammad Yunus thru 2007

Awards :
1BANGLADESH : President’s Award : 1978
Originator of the concept of Three share Farming (Tebhaga Khamar) as a joint farming operation. Organised Nabajug Tebhaga Khamar in Jobra, Chittagong in 1975, around a deep tubewell which was lying unused because of management problems. Government of Bangladesh adopted the concept and introduced it in the country under the name of “Packaged Input Programme” (PIP) in 1977. Nabajug Tebhaga Khamar was awarded President’s Award in 1978 for introducing an innovative organisation in agriculture.
2PHILIPPINES : Ramon Magsaysay Award : 1984
Awarded Ramon Magsaysay Award in the Field of “Community Leadership” in 1984 for “Enabling the neediest rural men and women to make themselves productive with sound group managed credit.”
3BANGLADESH : Central Bank Award : 1985
Awarded the Bangladesh Bank Award 1985 in recognition of the contribution in devising a new banking mechanism to extend credit to the rural landless population, thereby creating self employment and socio economic development for them.
4BANGLADESH : Independence Day award : 1987
Awarded the Independence Day Award, 1987, by the President for the outstanding contribution in rural development. This is the highest civilian national award of Bangladesh.
5SWITZERLAND : Aga Khan Award For Architecture : 1989
Awarded Aga Khan Award For Architecture, 1989 by Geneva based Aga Khan Foundation for designing and operating Grameen Bank Housing Programme for the poor, which helped poor members of Grameen Bank to construct 60,000 housing units by 1989, each costing on an average $ 300.
6U.S.A. : Humanitarian Award : 1993
Awarded 1993 Humanitarian Award by the CARE, U.S.A. in recognition of role in providing a uniquely pragmatic and effective method of empowering poor women and men to embark on income generating activities.
7SRI LANKA : Mohamed Sahabdeen Award for Science (Socio Economic) : 1993
Awarded Mohamed Sahabdeen Award for Science (Socio Economic) in 1993.
8BANGLADESH : Rear Admiral M. A. Khan Memorial Gold Medal Award : 1993
Awarded Rear Admiral Mahbub Ali Khan Memorial Gold Medal Award in 1993.
9U.S.A. : World Food Prize : 1994
Awarded 1994 World Food Prize by World Food Prize Foundation, U.S.A. in recognition of the lifetime achievements of an economist who created a bank loan system that has given millions of people access to adequate food and nutrition for the first time in their lives.
10U.S.A. : Pfeffer Peace Prize : 1994
Awarded 1994 Pfeffer Peace Prize by the Fellowship of Reconciliation, U.S.A. for his vision of non collateral lending through the Grameen Bank and the courage of persevere in the concept that credit is a human right.
11BANGLADESH : Dr. Mohammad Ibrahim Memorial Gold Medal Award : 1994
Awarded Dr. Mohammad Ibrahim Memorial Gold Medal Award in 1994.
12SWITZERLAND : Max Schmidheiny Foundation Freedom Prize : 1995
Awarded Max Schmidheiny Foundation Freedom Prize in 1995.
13BANGLADESH : RCMD Award : 1995
Awarded Rotary Club of Metropolitan Dhaka Foundation Award in 1995.
14VENEZUELA & UNESCO : International Simon Bolivar Prize : 1996
Awarded International Simon Bolivar Prize in 1996.
15U.S.A. : “Distinguished Alumnus Award” of Vanderbilt University : 1996
Awarded “Distinguished Alumnus Award” of Vanderbilt University in 1996.
16U.S.A. : International Activist Award : 1997
Awarded International Activist Award Gleitsman Foundation, U.S.A., in 1997.
17GERMANY : Planetary Consciousness Business Innovation Prize : 1997
Awarded “Planetary Consciousness Business Innovation Prize” by the club of Budapest in 1997.
18NORWAY : Help for self help Prize : 1997
Awarded “Help for self help Prize” by the Stromme Foundation in 1997.
19ITALY : Man for Peace Award : 1997
Awarded “Man for Peace Award” by the Together For Peace Foundation in 1997.
20U.S.A. : State of the World Forum Award : 1997
Awarded “State of the World Forum Award” by the State of the World Forum, San Francisco in 1997.
21U.K.: One World Broadcasting Trust Media Awards : 1998
Awarded “One World Broadcasting Trust Special Award” by the One World Broadcasting Trust in 1998.
22SPAIN : The Prince of Austurias Award for Concord : 1998
Awarded “The Prince of Austurias Award for Concord” by The Prince of Austurias Foundation in 1998.
23AUSTRALIA : Sydney Peace Prize : 1998
Awarded “Sydney Peace Prize” by the Sydney Peace Foundation in 1998.
24JAPAN : Ozaki (Gakudo) Award : 1998
Awarded “Ozaki (Gakudo) Award” by the Ozaki Yukio Memorial Foundation in 1998.
25INDIA : Indira Gandhi Prize : 1998
Awarded “Indira Gandhi Prize” for Peace, Disarmament and Development by the Indira Gandhi Memorial Trust in 1998.
26FRANCE : Juste of the Year Award : 1998
Awarded “Juste of the Year” by the Les Justes D’or in 1998.
27U.S.A. : Rotary Award for World Understanding 1999
Awarded “Rotary Award for World Understanding” by the Rotary International in 1999.
28ITALY : Golden Pegasus Award : 1999
Awarded “Golden Pegasus Award” by the TUSCAN Regional Government in 1999.
29ITALY : Roma Award for Peace and Humanitarian Action : 1999
Awarded “Roma Award for Peace and Humanitarian Action” by the Municipality of Rome in 1999.
30INDIA : Rathindra Puraskar : 1998
Awarded “Rathindra Puraskar for 1998” by the Visva-Bharati in 1999.
31SWITZERLAND : OMEGA Award of Excellence for Lifetime Achievement : 2000
Awarded “OMEGA Award of Excellence for Lifetime Achievement” in 2000.
32ITALY : Award of the Medal of the Presidency of the Italian Senate : 2000
Awarded “The Medal of the Presidency of the Italian Senate” in 2000.
33JORDAN : King Hussein Humanitarian Leadership Award : 2000
Awarded “King Hussein Humanitarian Leadership Award” by the King Hussein Foundation in 2000.
34BANGLADESH : “IDEB Gold Medal” Award : 2000
Awarded IDEB Gold Medal Award by the Institute of Diploma Engineers in 2000.
35ITALY : “Artusi” Prize : 2001
Awarded “Artusi” prize by Comune di Forlimpopoli in 2001.
36JAPAN : Grand Prize of the Fukuoka Asian Culture Prize : 2001
Awarded “Grand Prize of the Fukuoka Asian Culture Prize ” by the Fukuoka Asian Culture Prize Committee in 2001.
37VIETNAM : Ho Chi Minh Award : 2001
Awarded “Ho Chi Minh Award” by the Ho Chi Minh City Peoples’ Committee in 2001.
38SPAIN : International Cooperation Prize Caja de Granada : 2001
Awarded “International Cooperation Prize Caja de Granada” Caja de Ahorros de Granada in 2001.
39SPAIN : “NAVARRA” International Aid Award : 2001
“NAVARRA” International Aid Award by the Autonomous Government of Navarra together with Caja Laboral (Savings Bank) in 2001.
40U.S.A : Mahatma Gandhi Award :2002
Awarded “Mahatma Gandhi Award” by the M.K Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence, in 2002.
41U.K. : World Technology Network Award 2003
Awarded “World Technology Network Award 2003” for Finance by the World Technology Network in 2003.
42SWEDEN : Volvo Environment Prize 2003
Awarded “Volvo Environment Prize 2003” by the Volvo Environment Prize Foundation in 2003.
43COLOMBIA : National Merit Order Award
Awarded “National Merit Order” by the Honorable President of the Republic of Colombia in 2003.
44FRANCE : The Medal of the Painter Oswaldo Guayasamin Award
Awarded “The Medal of the Painter Oswaldo Guayasamin” by the UNESCO in 2003.
45SPAIN : Telecinco Award : 2004
Awarded “Telecinco Award for Better Path Towards Solidarity” by the Spanish TV Netwark – Channel 5 in 2004.
46ITALY : City of Orvieto Award : 2004
Awarded “City of Orvieto Award” by the Municipality of Orvieto in 2004.
47U.S.A : The Economist Innovation Award : 2004
Awarded “The Economist Award for Social and Economic Innovation” by The Economist in 2004.
48U.S.A. : World Affairs Council Award : 2004
Awarded “World Affairs Council Award for Extra-ordinary Contribution to Social Change” by the World Affairs Council of Northern California in 2004.
49U.S.A. : Leadership in Social Entrepreneurship Award
Awarded “Leadership in Social Entrepreneurship Award” by Fuqua School of Business of Duke University, U.S.A. in 2004.
50ITALY : Premio Galileo 2000 – Special Prize for Peace : 2004
Awarded “Premio Galileo 2000 – Special Prize for Peace” by Ina Assitalia Fireuze in 2004.
51JAPAN : Nikkei Asia Prize : 2004
Awarded “Nikkei Asia Prize for Regional Growth” by the Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Inc. (Nikkei) in 2004.
52SPAIN : Golden Cross of the Civil Order of the Social Solidarity : 2005
Awarded “Golden Cross of the Civil Order of the Social Solidarity” by the Spanish Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs in May, 2005.
53U.S.A. : Freedom Award : 2005
Awarded “Freedom Award” by the America’s Freedom Foundation, Provo, Utah, U.S.A. in July, 2005.
54BANGLADESH : Bangladesh Computer Society Gold Medal : 2005
Awarded “Bangladesh Computer Society Gold Medal” by the Bangladesh Computer Society, Bangladesh in July, 2005.
55ITALY : Prize Il Ponte : 2005
Awarded ” Prize Il Ponte ” by the Fondazione Europea Guido Venosta, Italy in November, 2005.
56SPAIN : Foundation of Justice : 2005
Awarded “Foundation of Justice 2005” by the Foundation of Justice, Valencia, Spain in January, 2006.
57U.S.A : Harvard University, Neustadt Award : 2006
Awarded “Neustadt Award” by Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, U.S.A. in May, 2006.
58U.S.A : Global Citizen of the Year Award: 2006
Awarded “Global Citizen of the Year Award” by Patel Foundation for Global understanding, Tampa, Florida, U.S.A in May, 2006.
59NETHERLAND : Franklin D. Roosevelt Freedom Award: 2006
Awarded “Franklin D. Roosevelt Freedom Award” by Roosevelt Institute, Middleburg, Province of New Zeeland, The Netherlands in May, 2006.
60SWITZERLAND : ITU World Information Society Award: 2006
Awarded “ITU World Information Society Award” by International Telecommunication Union, Geneva, Switzerland in May, 2006.
61KOREA : Seoul Peace Prize : 2006
Awarded “Seoul Peace Prize 2006” by Seoul Peace Prize Cultural Foundation, Seoul, Korea in October, 2006.
62SPAIN : Convivencia (Good Fellowship) of Ceuta Award : 2006
Awarded “Convivencia (Good Fellowship) of Ceuta 2006” by Fundacion Premio Convivencia, Ceuta, Spain in October, 2006.
63NORWAY : Nobel Peace Prize : 2006
Awarded “Nobel Peace Prize 2006” in October, 2006.
64INDIA : Disaster Mitigation Award 2006:
Awarded “Disaster Mitigation Award 2006” by FIRST INDIA Disaster Management Congress 2006, Delhi, India in November, 2006.
65INDIA : Shera Bangalee 2006 :
Awarded “SHERA BANGALEE 2006” by ETV, India in February, 2007.
66USA : Global Trailblazer Award 2007 :
Awarded “Global Trailblazer Award 2007” by the Vital Voices, Washington DC, USA in March, 2007.
67USA : ABICC Award For Leadership In Global Trade : 2007 :
Awarded “ABICC Award For Leadership in Global Trade 2007” by ABICC, Miami, USA in March, 2007.
68USA : Social Entrepreneur Award 2007 :
Awarded “Social Entrepreneur Award 2007” by the Geoffrey Palmer Center for Social Entrepreneurship and the Law, Pepperdine School of Law, USA in January, 2007.
69USA : Global Entrepreneurship Leader Award 2007 :
Awarded “Global Entrepreneurship Leader Award 2007” by the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship, USA in April, 2007.
70SPAIN : RED CROSS Gold Medal 2007 :
Awarded “Red Cross Gold Medal 2007” by the Red Cross Society, Spain in 2007.
71INDIA : Rabindra Nath Tagore Birth Centenary Plaque 2007 :
Awarded “Rabindra Nath Tagore Birth Centenary Plaque 2007” by the Asiatic Society, Kolkata, India in May, 2007.
72NETHERLAND : EFR-Business Week Award 2007 :
Awarded “EFR-Business Week Award 2007” by the University of Rotterdam, The Netherlands in May 2007.
73U.S.A. : Nichols-Chancellor’s Medal :
Awarded “Nichols-Chancellor’s Medal” by the Vanderbilt University, U.S.A. in May, 2007.
74GERMANY : Vision Award 2007 :
Awarded “Vision Award 2007” by the Global Economic Network, Berlin, Germany in June, 2007.
75U.S.A : BAFI Global Achievement Award 2007 :
Awarded “BAFI Global Achievement Award 2007” by the Bangladesh-American Foundation Inc., U.S.A in July, 2007.
76INDIA : Sakaal Person of the Year Award 2007 :
Awarded “Sakaal Person of the Year Award 2007” by the Sakaal Group of Publications, India in November, 2007.
77PHILIPPINES : First AHPADA Global Award :
Awarded “1st AHPADA Global Award” by the ASEAN Handicraft Promotion and Development Association (ASPADA), Philippines in November, 2007.

Honorary Degrees Received by Professor Muhammad Yunus :
1U.K. : Awarded the Degree of Doctor of Letters, honoris causa, by the University of East Anglia, U.K., in 1992.
2U.S.A. : Awarded the Degree of Doctor of Humanities by the Oberlin College, U.S.A. in 1993.
3CANADA : Awarded the Degree of Doctor of Law, honoris causa, by the University of Toronto, Canada in 1995.
4U.S.A. : Awarded the Degree of Doctor of Law by the Haverford College, U.S.A. in May, 1996.
5U.K. : Awarded the Degree of Doctor of Law by the Warwick University, U.K. in July, 1996.
6U.S.A.: Awarded the Degree of Doctor of Public Service by the Saint Xaviers’ University, U.S.A. in May, 1997.
7U.S.A. : Awarded the Degree of Doctor of Civil Law, Honoris Causa by the University of the South, U.S.A. in January, 1998.
8BELGIUM : Awarded the Degree of Doctor Honoris Cause by the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium in February, 1998.
9U.S.A. : Awarded the Degree of Doctor of Social Science, honoris causa by the Yale University, U.S.A. in May, 1998.
10U.S.A. : Awarded the Degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa by the Brigham Young University, U.S.A. in August, 1998.
11AUSTRALIA : Awarded the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Science in Economics by the University of Sydney, Australia in November, 1998.
12AUSTRALIA : Awarded the Honorary Degree of Doctor of the University by the Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia in February, 2000.
13ITALY : Awarded the Honorary Degree of Doctor in Economics and Business (Laurea Honoris Causa) by the University of Turin, Turin, Italy in October, 2000.
14U.S.A. : Awarded the Degree of Humane Letters, Honoris Causa by the Colgate University, Hamilton, U.S.A. in May 2002.
15BELGIUM : Awarded the Degree of Doctor Honoris Causa by the University Catholique of Louvain in February, 2003.
16ARGENTINA : Awarded the Degree of Doctor Honoris Causa by the Universitad Nacional De Cuyo in April, 2003.
17SOUTH AFRICA : Awarded the Degree of Doctor of Economics, honoris Causa by the University of Natal in December 2003.
18INDIA : Awarded the Degree of Doctor of Science, Honoris Causa by the Bidhan Chandra Krishi Viswayvidyalaya, India in February, 2004.
19THAILAND : Awarded the Degree of Doctor of Technology, Honoris Causa by the Asian Institute of Technology in August, 2004.
20ITALY : Awarded the Degree of Doctor in Business Economics, Honoris Causa by the University of Florence in September, 2004.
21ITALY : Awarded the Honorary Degree of Doctor in Pedagogyst by the University of Bologna in October, 2004.
22SPAIN : Awarded the Degree of Doctor Honoris Causa by the Universidad Complutense, Madrid in October, 2004.
23SOUTH AFRICA : Awarded the Honorary Doctorate Degree in Economics by the University of Venda, South Africa in May, 2006.
24LEBANON : Awarded the Doctor of Humane Letters by the American University of Beirut, Lebanon in June, 2006.
25SPAIN : Awarded the Doctor of Honoris Causa by the University of Alicante in Valencia, Spain in June, 2006.
26SPAIN : Awarded the Doctor of Honoris Causa by the University of Valencia, in Valencia, Spain in June, 2006.
27SPAIN : Awarded the Doctor of Honoris Causa by the University of Jaume I in Valencia, Spain in June, 2006.
28BANGLADESH : Awarded the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws by the University of Dhaka, Bangladesh in February, 2007.
29JAPAN : Awarded the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Humanities by the Rikkyo University, Tokyo, Japan in July, 2007.
30MALAYSIA : Awarded the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Economics by the Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang, Malaysia in August, 2007.
31

KOREA : Awarded the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Philosophy by the Ewha Womans University in September, 2007.



Ten Indicators to Assess Poverty level

Every year GB staff evaluate their work and check whether the socio-economic situation of GB members is improving. GB evaluates poverty level of the borrowers using ten indicators.
poverty
A member is considered to have moved out of poverty if her family fulfills the following criteria:
1.
The family lives in a house worth at least Tk. 25,000 (twenty five thousand) or a house with a tin roof, and each member of the family is able to sleep on bed instead of on the floor.
2.
Family members drink pure water of tube-wells, boiled water or water purified by using alum, arsenic-free, purifying tablets or pitcher filters.
3.
All children in the family over six years of age are all going to school or finished primary school.
4.
Minimum weekly loan installment of the borrower is Tk. 200 or more.
5.
Family uses sanitary latrine.
6.
Family members have adequate clothing for every day use, warm clothing for winter, such as shawls, sweaters, blankets, etc, and mosquito-nets to protect themselves from mosquitoes.
7.
Family has sources of additional income, such as vegetable garden, fruit-bearing trees, etc, so that they are able to fall back on these sources of income when they need additional money.
8.
The borrower maintains an average annual balance of Tk. 5,000 in her savings accounts.
9.
Family experiences no difficulty in having three square meals a day throughout the year, i. e. no member of the family goes hungry any time of the year.
10.
Family can take care of the health. If any member of the family falls ill, family can afford to take all necessary steps to seek adequate healthcare.
Top 25 Items in order of Amount Disbursed for which Members took Leasing Loans during 1998

Both (Female & Male)
Order
Name of Items
No: of Loans
Amount
(In Taka)
1
Milch cow
1423
19201620
2
porwer Tiller
325
9150413
3
Baby Taxi
213
7362923
4
Drain Repairing
307
6076381
5
power pump
166
2786400
6
Rickshaw
93
2626054
7
Computer
50
2486000
8
Cow Fattening
211
2398793
9
Boat For Ferry Service
110
2312900
10
Boat For Transportation
178
2107842
11
Boat Making & Repairing
64
2031600
12
Bullock
112
1920673
13
Stationery Goods
42
1173500
14
Shallow Machine
36
1169500
15
Elextric Generator
275
1133000
16
Bullock Cart
153
1125100
17
Video Camera
42
978300
18
Construction works
52
906200
19
Rice Mill
28
888300
20
Computer Printer
91
882000
21
Goat
15
816000
22
Thrasher Machine
62
781900
23
Van Purchase &Repairing
20
737000
24
poulty Raising
22
73000
25
Sewing Machine purchase
26
688200
Total
4116
72470599
  Female
Order
Name of Items
No: of Loans
Amount
(In Taka)
1
Milch cow
1390
18947620
2
porwer Tiller
305
8206013
3
Drain Repairing
293
5784381
4
Baby Taxi
117
5774423
5
power pump
161
2549400
6
Rickshaw
89
2343254
7
Cow Fattening
205
2289793
8
Boat For Transportation
76
2007842
9
Boat Making & Repairing
59
1916600
10
Boat For Ferry Service
106
1907400
11
Bullock
92
1502673
12
Stationery Goods
37
1163500
13
Elextric Generator
272
1072000
14
Bullock Cart
152
1025100
15
Computer
45
988000
16
Shallow Machine
29
394500
17
Rice Mill
26
818300
18
Goat
15
816000
19
Poultry Machine
20
675000
20
Thraher Machine
36
669900
21
Sewing Machine purchase
25
658200
22
Computer Purchase
88
632000
23
Buffalo Cart
41
629191
24
Grocery Shop
65
622660
25
Battery Charge /Maintenance
25
600000
Total
3766
64533750
  Male
Order
Name of Items
No: of Loans
Amount
(In Taka)
1
Baby Taxi
96
1588500
2
porwer Tiller
5
1498000
3
power Tiller
20
944400
4
video
36
697300
5
Construction Woorks
5
520000
6
Bullock
20
418000
7
Boat for Ferry Service
4
405500
8
Van Purchase & Repairing
5
80000
9
Training
1
300000
10
Drain Repairing
14
292000
11
Rickshaw
7
282800
12
Mikch Cow
33
254000
13
Generator printer
3
250000
14
Power pump
5
237000
15
Shallow Machine
7
235000
16
Refrigeator
6
179000
17
Food Stoeage
1
150000
18
Barber Shop
2
130000
19
Nafpi (Fish -Based Food)
23
120000
20
Bost Making & Repairing
5
115000
21
Thrasher Machine
26
120000
22
Cow Fattening
6
109000
23
Pisciculture
14
106738
24
Boat For Transportation
102
100000
25
Bullock Cart
1
100000
Total
447
9524238

Letter from Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus Addressed to Grameen Bank Members on his departure from Grameen Bank

Beloved owners and honoured members of Grameen Bank:
Thirty-five years ago, I did not know that I would start a bank, and that I would lend to poor people, especially to poor rural women. Like many other teachers, I was busy teaching in the classroom, far from the realities on the ground. But Jobra village took my future into a completely different direction. I saw, first hand, how the loan sharks enslaved the villagers; I thought that if I were to lend money to the poor, then the villagers could be free from the grasp of the loan sharks. That is what I did. I never imagined that this would become my calling in life. I learned a lot sitting and talking with the women of Jobra; I came to know about things which I had never imagined. I longed to do whatever I could to help them. With my students, I was able to help the women in a small way. Acting as the guarantor, I was able to arrange loans from the bank for the poor people of the village. Alongside the loans, I added a savings program. At that time, women in the village did not have the capacity to save. The savings program started with 25 paisa in savings per week. Today the total amount of savings by the borrowers stands at 6 billion Taka!
Our members, when we started, did not know how to read or write. We started to teach them to write their name, with sticks in the dirt. I then created the Grameen Bank Project. At the initiative of Bangladesh Bank, I took what I was doing in Jobra to Tangail. In the villages across Tangail, I shared with the women of what was happening in Jobra. They too became eager and expressed their wish to do the same thing. From Tangail to Rangpur, Patuakhali, Dhaka, Rajshahi our work expanded. Gradually you, too, came and joined Grameen Bank.
We organized workshops. At these workshops, you told me stories about your lives. You told me about the sadness that you have had to bear. Tears fell from your eyes as you told me your stories. You made songs of your sadness and sang them for me. To turn around your lives, together all of you came to decisions on what you had to do. At these workshops, I collected and noted down the decisions that you reached, and told other women of these decisions. From these, the “Sixteen Decisions” came into being. Those “Sixteen Decisions” have become a part of Grameen Bank. “At our son’s wedding we will not take dowry; we will not take dowry. At our daughter’s wedding we will not pay dowry; we will not pay dowry.” “We will educate our children, at least up to class sixteen.” “We shall grow vegetables all the year round. We shall eat plenty of them and sell the surplus. ” “Discipline, Unity, Courage and Hard work – in all walks of our lives”, “We shall drink water from the tube well; if it is not available, we shall boil water and drink it”. These are just some of the decisions.
A lot of people from the villages resisted your joining Grameen Bank. They were opposed to seeing women handle money and earn money. They tried to frighten you by telling you about the horrifying outcomes of accepting money from Grameen Bank. They tried to frighten you by saying that you would be banished to Talpotty if you took money from Grameen Bank. They scared you by telling you that Grameen Bank was a plot hatched by the government to identify you, so that they could take you to the ocean to throw you into the deep sea, never to return. This was the way the government would solve the problem of population and poverty in one step. They said this was a missionary bank whose purpose was to convert you. They threatened to attack you; they threatened that they would bury you wrapped in black shroud when you died; they would not have a burial prayer for you. They threatened to chase you from your homes. And many of you were chased out of your homes and your villages.
But you did not get frightened. You became united with each other. You vowed with deep resolve that you would bring prosperity to your families. That is why from the “Grameen Bank Project”, you managed to create “Grameen Bank”. And you became the owners of this bank. Gradually, you were able to realize each of the Sixteen Decisions. You increased the amount of savings that you hold, many times over. You have educated your children. Through Educational Loans, many of them are today studying to be doctors and engineers. Many of your children have completed their education and are now doctors, engineers and professors.
Today, you know how to provide leadership in society. After gaining the experience of being group chairperson, you went on to become leader of the centre. With that experience you went on to become a Board Member of Grameen Bank. You participated in the Union Parishad elections and you won places on the Parishad boards. In the Sub-district elections, you became Vice-Chairperson.
In 2006, one of the biggest news of your lifetime arrived. Grameen Bank, in other words you, won the Nobel Peace Prize. You brought the nation a very big honour. Representing you, your Board Members travelled to Norway and brought back the Nobel Peace Prize. One of you, Mossammat Taslima Begum, from Pirghachi village in Chapainawabganj district, received the Nobel Peace Prize on your behalf. And she gave her acceptance speech on your behalf to the global television. The entire world watched and listened to her words. Those who had earlier been chased out of their villages now had brought back this great honour for the nation. The entire nation felt proud of you. You have raised your heads in front of the nation. You will never lower your heads again; you will always keep your heads raised high and proud. You will never bow your heads to anyone – this pledge has become a part of each and every one of you.
You are the owners of this Bank. Every time I wanted to go into retirement, you told me through your representatives that until you released me, I would have to continue with my responsibilities at Grameen Bank. I accepted this and carried on. Recently, on the orders of Bangladesh Bank I have been forced to relinquish this responsibility. I am removing myself from the responsibilities of the Managing Director of Grameen Bank, but I am not distancing myself from you. My relationship with you will never be broken. Even after leaving Grameen Bank, I will remain close to you. You and your children still have a long distance yet to travel. And I will remain close to you during this exciting journey.
Of the Sixteen Decisions, decision number one has become extremely relevant right now. It says: “Our lives will be moulded around these four principles – Discipline, Unity, Courage and Hard Work.” You raised your children to follow these four principles. Right now you must hold on to these principles unflinchingly – they are a source of great strength for you. When you were attempting to set up your Centre, even though you faced harsh opposition from people in your villages, you did not let that frighten you. You built and set up your centre. You brought prosperity to your families. In time, you got the recognition you fought for, and gained respectability in your villages. Many of you have been running your centres for ten to twenty years. Grameen Bank is a priceless wealth for you. Do not give away this to anyone. You are the owners of this bank. Do not let go of this ownership. If anyone speaks about taking away the ownership of Grameen Bank, if anyone speaks against your Bank, then you must protest against it; if you do not protest, if you remain silent, this Bank will be taken from your possession.
Soon you will be put under difficult tests. You must prepare yourself from now on to come out successfully from these tests. If you are able to protect this bank then your children and descendants will be able to benefit from its wealth. For their future, protecting this Bank is vital.
I have spoken about many things with you today, some things about the old days and something about what is coming in the future. You have learned over the years to rely on your own strength. That was the reason for your success. Don’t forget to rely on your own strength in the future. Grameen Bank must move on to greater success. You must move on to greater success.
Please remember me in your prayers.
Please accept my salaam, and convey my salaam to all in your family.
May the blessings of God be with you.
Yours faithfully,
(Professor Muhammad Yunus)