How twenty seven dollars changed the way we view the poor.
In 1974, Mohammed Yunus, a Bangladeshi economics professor, asked a 21 year old woman how much she earned weaving bamboo stools. Apparently, she earned the equivalent of 9 cents, 6 of which went to the money lender, and she lived on three. When he studied her village he found out that the villager owed 27 dollars to different moneylenders which they used to buy raw material for their crafts. When he offered to lend them the money to pay off their debts and pay them off whenever they can, they all paid back.
That was the start of Grameen Bank, and the microcredit revolution. The initiative was not only successful in lifting people out of poverty, it was also profitable. However, its main impact in development discourse was more significant; it changed the way we view the poor.
The success of microfinance showed that the poor were not a group of pathetic people seeking free handouts of food and money. They appeared to be active citizens whose main problem was the lack of opportunities and access to resources. The fact that this lack of access was institutionalised in the economic system of poor countries meant that the poor were doomed to stay in poverty as they could never move out of a cycle that continuously forced them into that state.
Today, 32 years after Grameen Bank's inception, Mohammed Yunus won the Nobel Peace Prize. By large, this year's prize is the most deserved- Friday the 13th is not such a bad thing afterall.


elena said...

"same post" (or a kind of) in our blogs ....

إسرائيل إلى الأبد said...

السفر الى مركز قوة الدفاع الاسرائيلية في اللطرون. اجتماع الخبراء من الارهاب ، القائد السابق (الشين بيت) لمنطقة يهودا والسامرة : "ان استخدام المخبرين تحليل ومكافحة الارهاب ". مناقشة سري الفلسطيني الوكلاء الذين يعملون في اسرائيل خدمات امنية للتسلل الى السلطة الفلسطينية. الاحاطه بها الجنرال افيغدور كهلاني ، بطل هذه كلمة عبريه وتعني يوم Kippur حرب الذي فاز على السوريين الرئيسية الاسرائيلي سوريا ساحة لحرب 1973 الاجتماع الأول من قبل رئيس الاستجواب التابعة ل شين بيت : "اسرائيل في حالة استباقيه للدفاع عن النفس".