Archive for August, 2009

Reaction to the Recent Wall Street Journal Articles about Microfinance

August 21, 2009

Alex Counts is President and CEO of Grameen Foundation.

Cashpor client receives her loan

Cashpor client receives her loan

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.


Journey to Morocco

August 19, 2009

Emily Snodden is a rising senior at Westminster School in Connecticut.

Emily at a Village Meeting

Emily at a Village Meeting

The beads of sweat had long ago dripped down my spine and saturated my blouse with moisture as we approached what seemed to be a village. The scattered houses made from decaying plywood, tin, and mud looked similar to the huts I see on commercials late at night trying to raise money for starving children. However, I saw a few cable dishes weighing down the roofs they rested on and realized the slight prosperity in this devastated surrounding. Our guide paused outside the walls of the village to wait for members of our group who had fell behind.

As we waited a few locals passed, each person radiating in gratefulness. One elder man made me wonder, ignorantly, what he had to be grateful for. I guessed from his darkened, worn skin that he had spent many years laboring in the scorching sun and assumed he has little to show for his efforts. Even so as he passed atop his donkey and the inconceivable amounts of lavender he carried into the village, he shot me a welcoming, toothless smile that sent shivers down my sweat drenched back. When we finally entered the village, a woman, holding one child on her hip and carrying another in a shawl that hung around her neck, was bent over a stream scooping water into a metal pale.


Muhammad Yunus and the Presidential Medal of Freedom

August 17, 2009

Muhammad Yunus attended a reception in his honor, following his receipt of the Presidential Medal of Freedom and delivered a stirring speech about his 33 year fight against poverty and what he plans in for the future.

Watch on YouTube.


“I was deeply moved…”

August 14, 2009

Yeardley Smith is the voice of television character Lisa Simpson, and an active Grameen Foundation supporter.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Hello Delightfuls,

Pull up a chair, I have had a very fancy 43 hours!

I just got back from Washington, DC, where I attended a private reception co-hosted by my favorite Grameen Foundation, for Professor Muhammad Yunus, Mary Robinson, and Dr.  Pedro Jos Greer, all of whom received the Presidential Medal of Freedom yesterday.

You can imagine that when I said I was going to DC for the party, my friends had two questions for me: What are you going to wear? And do you get to attend the ceremony itself and meet President and Mrs. Obama?


Yeardley Smith Offers Her Congratulations to Muhammad Yunus

August 13, 2009

“It was a magical moment…”

August 12, 2009

Alex Counts is President and CEO of Grameen Foundation.

Obama and Yunus_crop

Muhammad Yunus receives the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Barack Obama

Today’s ceremony where President Barack Obama presented the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Professor Muhammad Yunus and 15 other incredibly accomplished citizens was a moment when any American, and any person, who wants the world to be a better place could feel proud. America’s highest civilian award was a well-deserved honor for Dr. Yunus based on more than three decades of accomplishment benefiting Bangladesh’s and the world’s poor, through championing microfinance and social business.

When President and Michelle Obama entered the room at 3:10pm, there was electricity unlike anything I had ever felt.


A Champion of Yes We Can

August 11, 2009

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.