Alex Counts Reflects on his Interview with C-SPAN


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.

Alex Counts

Alex Counts

Today’s interview on CSPAN’s “Washington Journal” program was personally enjoyable, and it was also great exposure for Grameen Foundation and our self-help strategy for combating world poverty.  I always chuckle when people put makeup on me in advance of appearing on television.  This time, Steve Scully (the host) touched up my makeup about 15 seconds before we were on the air – apparently his staff had missed something when powdering me up minutes earlier!

Anyway, I had been prepared to address some controversies swirling around microfinance, and when the interview began with a basic, “softball” question I was momentarily flustered, but soon regained my footing.  Sometimes during these types of TV and radio sessions, I start off strong but lose a bit of focus as the interview and call-ins progress.  I find them a bit draining.  Today it felt like the opposite – my energy grew over the course of thirty minutes that seemed to fly by.

I thought the questions from the viewers were thoughtful and passionate, with some reflecting the economic anxiety still prevalent throughout the country.  Most calls seemed to come from the Midwest, where my father grew up (on a farm in Kansas, as it happens).  I was glad to be able to reflect on my recent experiences in Bangladesh, and how I have seen that country change – mostly for the better – over the last 21 years.

It was terrific that Steve drew so much attention to our website and my book “Small Loans, Big Dreams” – just as I had hoped he would.  With luck, that will help energize year-end donations and book sales, which will put us in a better position for impact in 2010.

5 Responses to “Alex Counts Reflects on his Interview with C-SPAN”

  1. Carla Muss-Jacobs Says:

    I watched that segment. Sometimes, when I can’t sleep I’ll click on the TV and I think the BEST programming is on between the hours of 2:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m.


    The call in comments/questions were very thoughtful. I don’t think people here in America who have not traveled to any of these countries understand the poverty found there.

    There is no way to equate or parallel the two– or the nature of solving the poverty found in the slums in Delhi to a housing project in Detroit.

    I’ve traveled to Morocco for 5 weeks in ’05 — real eye opener, and I love Morocco for a lot of reasons, and have been to Delhi (recently). Each country, city, village is unique . . . but to compare the poverty found in America to the abject property found in developing nations, most people can not comprehend — even if you tried to explain it to them.

    I’d like to help your program. I think it would be a good volunteer experience for me, and I would like to do so in the following manner: I would like to get a slide-show/Power Point presentation started, and take it to the local churches to the youth groups in my area.

    I don’t go to church . . . I did as a young girl. I love God, and the Baby Jesus . . . other than this, I don’t affliate with one group, or church.

    I’ve talked to my son, who is 22-years old about your program, and told him about some of the statistics I read on your website regarding poverty in India. He is amazed / saddened at the level of poverty, and he knows I saw this first hand.

    I’m not a scholastic academic genius. I do have a B.S. in Social Sciences from PSU (Portand State University), if that matters at all. What I’ve come to conclude — again not rocket science — is that if you take a map of the literacy rates of nations, and overlay that on a map of the most impoverished nations . . . VIOLA . . . a correlation, in my opinion directly linked to the poorest nations on the face of our planet being the most illiterate. My focus, at some future point, is to bring in educational systems . . . namely READING and WRITING. I invision mothers, with their children, going to school and learning!! Teaching someone “how to” read . . . having them teach others . . . and the great thing is . . . books aren’t exactly the main staple of the warlords andnot a very hot black market crop.

    Anyway, these are my thoughts . . . but I would like to help fund-raise with my suggestion of going to youth groups at the local churches.

    Merry Christmas!!

    HO HO HO


    Carla E. Muss-Jacobs

  2. Umar Says:

    i need help for my treatment can u do any thing for me

    wating for your best regards


    umar hayat Khan
    c.b 203 khan abad wah cantt
    +92 300 5340382

  3. mukti Prakash Tirkey Says:

    Microfinance and grameen bank is a very encouraging idea and a means for the upliftment of the down-trodden adivasi community in Jharkahnd .i shall appreciate if someone provides me full detail and guidance for its implemnetation among the tribal people.I have been trying to begin the process through the schemes of Thrift and Credit Society under the CoOperative Deptt. of Jharkhand Government, in India.
    Your suggentions and guidance is highly solicited.
    Mukti Prakash Tirkey in Delhi

  4. Alex Dawia Says:

    I am always wanting to assist in anyway. I work with people on Bougainville Island in PNG and try to assist them in any shape or form to improve their livelihood. I like to set up small projects for them. How can I get assistance from Grameen Bank?
    Alex Dawia

  5. atrhur weiss Says:

    the term or termination of the dream of a orb or globe or planet called world can benifit from total restructuring from the mists of destuctering if the ambitious can build with the most modern of dreams of the people

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