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.

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08/11/2009 by

by Sam Daley-Harris. Reposted with his permission.

When President Obama presents the Medal of Freedom to 16 distinguished American and international “agents of change” at a White House ceremony on August 12th one of the honorees will link Mr. Obama to both his past and to the future he is so committed to creating.  Among the 16 leaders who will receive America’s highest civilian honor is Professor Muhammad Yunus, the founder of the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, which makes tiny loans for self-employment to some of the poorest people in that country.  Prof. Yunus is also one of the world’s most effective champions of the “yes we can” spirit.

07/23/2009 by

Kathleen M. Snoddon recently returned from Morocco where she was able to witness microfinance first-hand. This is the final entry in a five-part blog series about her journeys.

[caption id="attachment_195" align="alignright" width="300" caption="FONDEP Borrower"]FONDEP Borrower[/caption]

Having left Baiya’s with apologies for not being able to stay longer, we approached our original meeting place and could see our companions gathered and waiting our arrival.  It was hot and they were both exhilarated and spent by the activities and encounters of the last several hours. I wanted to stay longer. I wanted to spend time with each and every   woman who had made the effort to forge a future for themselves and their families.  I wanted to hear what their aspirations were for themselves and their children.

07/21/2009 by

Kathleen M. Snoddon recently returned from Morocco where she was able to witness microfinance first-hand. This is the fourth in a five-part blog series about her journeys.

[caption id="attachment_184" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Fennan and her goats"]Memouna and her goats[/caption]

Fennan appeared to be in her early thirties.  She was pregnant with her fourth child.  Her other children were gathered around her, hiding behind her skirt and peering curiously at our group. Her loan from FONDEP had been 2000 Moroccan Dirham, about $250.  With it, she purchased two goats.  That was three years ago.  Her goats have since multiplied.  She has six.  Each morning, Fennan milks her goats and walks to the nearest market to sell the milk.  The trek is 7 kilometers each way, 14 kilometers each morning. This provides her with 30 Moroccan Dirham a day in income, $3.70.  Her husband, like most men in the village is a farm laborer. He works seasonally to plant and harvest the olive and apple trees and other products including lavender and fava beans that are grown in the countryside on the land owned by the “wealthy” men from the city. Fennan’s earnings provide a steady income for the family.

07/15/2009 by

Kathleen M. Snoddon recently returned from Morocco where she was able to witness microfinance first-hand. This is the third in a five-part blog series about her journeys.

GF Supporters Visit to Learn about MicrofinanceMuhammad Yunus’ model for non-collateralized, small loans consists of the formation of groups or “pods” that serve as a support system to guarantee that any one person does not default on their loan. Groups are formed with women who usually know each other and are, preferably, engaged in different enterprises.  This peer system has proven very effective and provides more than just monetary fall back in the case of sickness or an event that interferes with a borrower’s ability to make her loan payments. There is an emotional support system inherent in this structure.

07/10/2009 by

Kathleen M. Snoddon recently returned from Morocco where she was able to witness microfinance first-hand. This is the second in a five-part blog series about her journeys.

[caption id="attachment_172" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Microfinance Clients at a borrower meeting"]Microfinance Clients at a borrower meeting[/caption]

At the top of the ridge leading into the village, we encountered a small group of tattooed-faced Berber women washing their clothes and cooking utensils in the rudimentary but resourceful aqueduct system that ran the perimeter of the village.  They seemed curious but shy.  We had been advised not to take anyone’s pictures without their permission. Some of older generation still believes that a photo can somehow capture their soul.

Descending the dirt path, we heard a cackle of excitement.  As we reached our destination we saw a large Berber carpet laid on the ground under a grove of trees.  Hakima had told us to expect to meet with 6 to 8 women.  The plan was to meet together as a group to exchange greetings and stories and then to split into smaller groups to accompany the borrowers to their homes and places of business.  In this rural village, most businesses are run in or around each of their homes.

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