Grameen Bank

SummaryAcknowledgementIntroductionWhy Should We Help?The BenefitsThe Venture ItselfHow to Avoid the Marie Antoinette SyndromeThe Action PlanConclusionSelected Bibliography


Yunus finally decided to formalize what had begun with a 27 dollar loan and so started the pilot project for Grameen Bank in January 1977. It was a work-in-progress for several years as Yunus and his colleagues adjusted it to respond to the needs of the members. Slowly, it became viable and by the end of 1981 had disbursed a total of $13.4 million (US) in loans. In 1983, Grameen officially became an independent bank. (Yunus, 2003, Chapters 5 to 7)

“. . . Grameen Bank has more than 6.6 million borrowers . . . . The bank has given out more than $5.7 billion in loans, in payments averaging $130, and claims a repayment of 98 percent.” (Watson & Alam, 2006)

The lives of countless people, including the children and husbands of the women who are Grameen’s chief borrowers, have improved because of Grameen (Yunus, 2003, p.72). Figure 6 is of some of Grameen’s members working on bamboo baskets.


Figure 6: Grameen members basketweaving

(Bamboo work, 1999)

This photograph shows women using skills that they already have to create bamboo baskets to sell. Grameen’s success is partly predicated on the belief that the poor already have skills and do not need job training, a myth perpetuated by many aid organizations. They already know how to work and survive — that is why they are still alive. (Yunus, 2003, Chapter 8)

“. . . [T]he poor are not poor because they are untrained or illiterate but because they cannot retain the returns of their labor. They have no control over capital, and it is the ability to control capital that gives people the power to rise out of poverty. Profit is unashamedly biased toward capital. In their powerless state, the poor work for the benefit of someone who controls the productive assets.” (Yunus, 2003, p. 141)

Life is dramatically better for the members of Grameen Bank: they are no longer the poorest of the poor. They are living proof that the poor do not remain poor because it is their own fault. They remain poor because they don’t have the opportunities that the rest of us do.


Read More: It’s Their Own Fault If They Are PoorJared Diamond and Western (Cargo)Ineffective AidMuhammad Yunus and MicrocreditUnscrupulous PeopleThe SystemGrameen BankIt Doesn’t Affect Us, So Why Should We Care?The Poor Will Always Be With UsThere Is No Point In Giving AidWhere Does All The Money Go?Africa’s Onerous ChallengesAfrica’s Extreme PovertyCorruption and Poor GovernanceLack of Modern Values and Free Market EconomiesA Population Explosion?Why Not Leave It to the United Nations and the World’s Governments?The UNThe Governments of the WorldGrassroots Movements