Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Role models #2: Muhammad Yunus

Defeating Global Poverty reports: [edited]

Muhammad Yunus (along with Grameen Bank, which he founded) has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his pioneering work in microcredit. This is a very powerful statement about the power of the microfinance revolution to help alleviate hopeless poverty.

Here are some of the things that impress me about Yunus:

He is an innovator. The Grameen Bank has continued to re-invent itself and lead the way in developing improved products and services which serve the poor AND are sustainable through generating profit.

He is an advocate. Yunus uses his access to powerful people to speak on behalf of the needs of the poor. He continues to frame his ideas, issues and questions in plain language which challenge the typical techno-speak of the international development community.

He is generous. Yunus has generously given of his time, knowledge and influence to help others learn from what they are doing at Grameen Bank in order to implement best practices to help the poor in other areas of the world.

[Editor's note: After receiving the news of the Nobel Prize award, Yunus announced that he would use part of his share of the $1.4 million award money to create a company to make low-cost, high-nutrition food for the poor; while the rest would go toward setting up an eye hospital for the poor in Bangladesh. For a potted history of Muhammad Yunus and the Grameen Bank, visit Wikipedia.]

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