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 is Part Two of this journey to assess the state of microfinance with Grameen Foundation partners worldwide.
Once my Grameen colleagues and I had visited with the village phone operators, we travelled to a tea plantation that was also a modest retreat facility about two hours outside of Jakarta. The assembled GF staff huddled there together to review our progress in 2009 and to plan for even wider impact in 2010. I was highly impressed by the dedication and skills of some of our newest staff whom I had never even met before.
From there I travelled to Wolfsburg, Germany, where 150 Grameen leaders gathered with Grameen Bank founder Professor Muhammad Yunus to begin a discussion of our priorities between now and 2015. I was joined by my colleagues David Edelstein and Camilla Nestor, GF’s Vice Presidents of technology and microfinance respectively, as well as Board committee member David Stephens, one of our most dedicated volunteers anywhere.