Muhammad Yunus And The Power Of An Idea

Dr. Muhammad YunusToday Muhammad Yunus and the Grameen Bank were awarded the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize "for their efforts to create economic and social development from below." Today is a day of celebration for all of Bangladesh and Bengalis everywhere. In a country racked by political infighting, corruption and poverty, Dr. Yunus and his faith in the poorest souls on Earth has always been a slight ray of hope. Today that ray shines a little brighter.

Dr. Yunus was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his pioneering work in the use of microcredit. Dr. Yunus is an economist who founded Grameen Bank in 1976 (formally in 1983) to give small loans to mostly poor women in rural Bangladesh to start small businesses. These women, who were otherwise deemed "unbankable" by conventional banks, proved to be a lower credit risk than most "creditworthy" borrowers. Grameen Bank’s loan repayment rate is over 98% – significantly higher than most commercial banks in the Third World. Dr. Yunus discovered that microcredit can be both commercially viable and an engine for socio-economic change. Grameen Bank has helped millions of Bangladeshis rise above poverty, not through charity, but through hard work and a little faith in their abilities.

Dr. Yunus’s success in helping the poor help themselves has been duplicated in almost all other developing countries. He has proven the value of direct investment from the bottom up in bringing about economic development. Microcredit and its success stands in direct contrast to the billions of dollars in foreign aid that is wasted when the West gives "aid" to Third World tyrants and dictators.

In awarding Dr. Yunus the Nobel Peace Prize, the Committee said:

Muhammad Yunus has shown himself to be a leader who has managed to translate visions into practical action for the benefit of millions of people, not only in Bangladesh, but also in many other countries.

Loans to poor people without any financial security had appeared to be an impossible idea. From modest beginnings three decades ago, Yunus has, first and foremost through Grameen Bank, developed micro-credit into an ever more important instrument in the struggle against poverty.

Every single individual on earth has both the potential and the right to live a decent life. Across cultures and civilizations, Yunus and Grameen Bank have shown that even the poorest of the poor can work to bring about their own development.

Micro-credit has proved to be an important liberating force in societies where women in particular have to struggle against repressive social and economic conditions. Economic growth and political democracy cannot achieve their full potential unless the female half of humanity participates on an equal footing with the male.

Dr. Yunus had a simple idea that he turned into action. In doing so, he has changed millions of lives.

Everyday hundreds of millions of people on our planet struggle to just survive. They struggle not with questions of war and peace, not with decisions to launch bombs or practice diplomacy; but with how to find enough food to feed themselves and their families. Their needs are basic and consume most of their existence. These people, our fellow human beings, our fellow brothers and sisters, live on the neglected edge of society. Dr. Yunus, three decades ago, resolved to do his part to help his fellow brothers and sisters step away from the edge. In doing so, Dr. Yunus understood what the current occupant of the White House to this day does not: that peace and stability in this world cannot be achieved until and unless the roots of poverty are addressed.

For his efforts to alleviate poverty to bring about a more peaceful world, the Nobel Committee today awarded Dr. Muhammad Yunus the Nobel Peace Prize.

 

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19 Responses to Muhammad Yunus And The Power Of An Idea

  1. Zafa says:

    Read how his fellow countrymen reacted
    http://www.drishtipat.org/blog/

  2. SisTwo says:

    Thank you, Zafa, for the link. Some really nice pictures!

    Mash – you have a nice blog. I have missed you at the Daily Kos, so decided to take a look here. Please come at least comment sometimes.

  3. Ingrid says:

    Bravo! Especially poor women (with children) get the brunt of economic hardships. Uplifting news for a change and I wish this gentleman even wider recognition through the adoption of his one great idea into the translation of adaptation world wide. Mash, a very heart warming ‘story’.
    Ingrid

  4. Robbie says:

    This is awesome news. It’s too bad the American solution of doing the equivalent is to construct payday loan stores on every streetcorner in our less affluent neighborhoods and charge usury interest rates.

    We need this in America. We really do.

  5. Thanks for writing about Muhammad Yunus’ honor. At Grameen Foundation, we’re excited to see this news help spread the word about microfinance, as we work to bring the Grameen Bank microfinance model to the poorest of the poor around the world.

    Robbie – There are microfinance programs in the United States, which we support, though they aren’t yet widespread.

    Zafa – Thanks for the link to the pictures. I hadn’t seen those yet and will be sure to share with my colleagues here.

  6. Mash says:

    Zafa,thanks for the link. I love the photo essay on your blog. I am going to put up a post to highlight it. :x

    Hi SysTwo, thanks for dropping by. I miss some of the great diarist and commenters from DKos. I saw the post on Dr. Yunus there and I am glad SusanG rescued it (although she claimed that Dr. Yunus was a Turk!)

    Ingrid,saw your post on Dr. Yunus – much appreciated. :”>

    Hey Robbie, apparently Bill Clinton started a microcredit chapter while he was governor of Arkansas. Clinton said in 2001 that Dr. Yunus should get a Nobel. \:d/

  7. Mash says:

    Ken, thanks for dropping by. This is a cause near and dear to my heart and I am very happy to do my part to spread the word about microfinance. Dr. Yunus and Grameen deserve all the recognition they can get. I hope this Nobel inspires people to get involved.

    Thanks for all the hard work the Grameen Foundation does.

  8. Thank you for your post on this year’s Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus! I’m not sure if it’s crossed your radar yet, but I work with an organization called Kiva.org that allows anyone to become a “Banker to the Poor”. Given your detailed post, I thought it might be of interest to you.

    A brief description of Kiva is below…thx again for supporting microfinance,

    Sundeep

    —-
    Kiva.org allows individuals to make $25 loans to low-income entrepreneurs in the developing world (microfinance). By doing so, individuals can provide affordable working capital for the poor (money to buy a sewing machine, livestock, etc.), empowering them to earn their way out of poverty.

  9. Bengali Fob says:

    Man how I wish I was in Bangladesh right now celebrating this huge and historical achievement of Yunus\\\’! Doesn\\\’t it feel awesome that finally a Bengali has won and he is actually officially from Bangladesh?! I\\\’m SOOO HAPPYYYY!!!!!!! \\\\:d/

  10. Mash says:

    Fob, its good to have something to celebrate. :”>

  11. Thanks Mash. It does look like the news is inspiring people to get involved, and the enthusiasm we’ve been seeing is great. We appreciate your support.

  12. dude says:

    well deserved. the man is a gentleman and a statesman, who walks his talk, and carries himself with dignity and humility.

    long overdue, though i would have thought in economics rather than peace, though this is the top of the totem, so i guess it works just as well…

    PS: system doing somehting funky, this is my 3rd attempt…

  13. dude says:

    make that 5th attempt. couldn’t i just have a user name or somehting…rather than the verify thingey!!?

  14. Mash says:

    dude, welcome back. I enabled registration for those who want to take advantage of it. If you register, you will not need to go through the captcha spam test.

  15. dude says:

    hey, yeah, just saw that, thanks. yes, been awol for a bit, am temporarily on other face of planet, seeing all the tamasha first hand, as it were. good to see you are still about.:d

  16. Anjaan says:

    \:d/:d:x:d

    LOVE YOU ALL for the good news :) Congratulations Dr.Yunus and Congratulation all Bangladeshi’s

    Thank You

    Anjaan Ahmed

  17. fsosa@ashoka.org says:

    Hello to all the people who support Muhamad Yunus. You have an opportunity to learn more about his ideas and help at the same time. Ashoka: Inovators for the Public (www.ashoka.org), recently developed a group of films about Social Entrepreneurship, and Yunus is one of the speakers.

    Ashoka – just launched an ambitious subtitling project with dotSUB (www.dotsub.com/nobel), a new site that lets you translate films line by line. The plan: volunteers translate one video on Muhammad Yunus and one on Ashoka founder Bill Drayton into 100 languages in time for the Nobel ceremony on December 10th. Go on, translate a few lines (www.dotsub.com/nobel) and learn more about what these Social Entrepreneurs have done. You will be giving people all around the world the opportunity to enjoy and learn from these videos…

  18. Superb post! I absolutely consent along with you.

  19. I found your site on google. It’s very useful and hope you will share more.

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