Grameen Foundation Insights

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At Grameen Foundation, our goal is to spur innovation in the global movement to eliminate extreme poverty. Part of that work is to develop better solutions and share them with people like you.

On GF Insights, we share lessons learned from our leaders in the field, news about efforts to expand access to financial and information services for the poor, and how poverty-focused organizations are using data to improve the way they work.

Latest Posts

11/09/2009 by

Alex Counts is President and CEO of Grameen Foundation, and the author of “Small Loans, Big Dreams: How Nobel Prize Winner Muhammad Yunus and Microfinance are Changing the World” (John Wiley & Sons, 2008). Below, he recounts his visits to assess the state of microfinance with Grameen Foundation partners worldwide.

[caption id="attachment_273" align="alignleft" width="150" caption="Alex Counts"]Alex Counts[/caption]

I am coming to the end of my longest fall trip – it’s been a whirlwind and culminates in an emotional climax tonight.

Today, there will be a massive event to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.  The theme for many will be “another wall to fall,” with the focus on how poverty needs to follow the Cold War into the dustbin of history.  To symbolize this, Professor Yunus will be the final speaker at the event, which will also feature many European heads of government.

My journey began in Miami, where I was attending the board meeting of Fonkoze USA, the U.S. sister organization of the largest microfinance institution in Haiti. We heard Fonkoze’s co-founders, Father Joseph Philippe and Anne Hastings, report about some positive trends in the their organization and also some troubling developments in Haiti, including the fall of the government (i.e., the Prime Minister was forced out by the President) the day before we arrived in Miami – something that could set back many recently announced humanitarian projects, some of which Fonkoze would stand to benefit from.  With Haiti, even at the best of times it seems like two steps forward, one and half steps back – but Fonkoze battles on.   The board of directors of Fonkoze elected me their Chairman, in part due to the great support that they have gotten over the years from Grameen Foundation.  I was honored and humbled.

10/29/2009 by

Will Marre is the co-founder and former president of the Covey Leadership Center (The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People), CEO of the REALeadership Alliance, and the author of “Save the World and Still Be Home for Dinner” (Capital Books, 2009). The following is from a Tuesday, Oct 27 entry on his blog, Thought Rocket.

10/27/2009 by

27 on the 27thToday, Grameen Foundation is launching the Ingenuity Fund, our new fundraising effort that aims to create a village – or grameen – of online advocates and funders.

You can support the launch of the Ingenuity Fund by participating in our first initiative, “$27 on the 27th.”  In 1976, Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus planted the seed that created Grameen Bank by making a loan of $27 to a group of 42 Bangladeshi stool makers out of his own pocket. Professor Yunus’ simple, yet ingenious action has revolutionized the way in which we combat poverty around the world and offers inspiration to people looking to make an impact with their charitable donation.

Here is how you can join us in our “$27 on the 27th” initiative:

10/21/2009 by

Your daily dose of lattes. Dinner out with friends. Cab fare.

The money you spend on items like these in one week could help us impact the lives of poor people around the world. So what would you give up for one week to help end poverty? How much money would that raise for poor families? Tell us below and then send us a Tweet or Facebook message.

08/21/2009 by

Alex Counts is President and CEO of Grameen Foundation.

[caption id="attachment_250" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Cashpor client receives her loan"]Cashpor client receives her loan[/caption]

Recent articles in the Wall Street Journal about the activities of Indian microfinance institutions (MFIs) and the role global investors are playing in the sector’s development have sparked intense debate about microfinance losing its way. While the articles do highlight a few real challenges facing clients and MFIs in some isolated cases, we believe they contain significant errors, omissions and distortions. Two leading microfinance practitioners, Vikram Akula of SKS and Samit Ghosh of Ujjivan, have critiqued the articles and we encourage people to read what they have written.

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