Grameen Bank Founder Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize

Just after we were writing about some aspects of what makes a service ‘green’ or responsible, comes the wonderful news that Bangladeshi Muhammad Yunus and his innovative Grameen Bank have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2006. In announcing the $1.4 million prize to a surprise winner, from a field of over 190 candidates, Nobel Committee director Ole Danbolt Mjoes said "Lasting peace cannot be achieved unless large population groups find ways in which to break out of poverty," he went on, "Microcredit is one such means. Development from below also serves to advance democracy and human rights." The Grameen Bank lends money, often just a few dollars, mainly to illiterate women, who use it to set up small enterprises. The loans are provided without any collateral or security, and the borrowers, not the bank, decide the business it will be used for. Founded by Yunus 30 years ago when he when he made a loan of $27 to a bamboo-stool maker, and loans to 41 other villagers, Grameen now has 6.61 million borrowers, 97 percent of them women, serving over 71,000 villages in Bangladesh. More than a third of Bangladeshis live on less than $1 a day, according to the World Bank. Inspired by Grameen, similar programs have spread around the globe. ::Grameen Bank, via Adnki, ndtv, and Salt Lake Tribune.In the past we’ve mentioned the Grameen Surya Bijlee Foundation (GSBF) who are installing solar-powered LEDs in poor, rural Indian villages. Although the name is the same, this is a separate initiative. The word Grameen means ‘village’ or ‘rural’.

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