An Attack on Grameen Bank, and the Cause of Women


This month, the Grameen Bank, the organization that won the Nobel Peace Prize for extending small loans to impoverished village women, has come under renewed attack from the government of Bangladesh. Last year,?I reported?that the government was attempting to forcibly remove the bank?s founder, Muhammad Yunus, from his position as managing director on the pretense that Yunus, then 70, was beyond the official retirement age. The government prevailed.

Nobel Prize Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006. He initiated the Grameen (rural) Bank, the bank for the poor, which gives loans to poor people (generally women), who do not have collateral. The Grameen Foundation has also initiated innovative companies such as Grameen Phone, a commercial telecommunication company which also provides phones to rural women for setting up their businesses. 1988. Mirpur. Dhaka. Bangladesh. ??Shahidul Alam/Drik/Majority World

Now it has struck again. On Aug. 2, the cabinet of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wazed?approved?a proposal to amend the 29-year-old law that governs the Grameen Bank so the government can bypass the bank?s board of directors and handpick Yunus?s successor. This is a brazen step to seize control of an institution that serves 8.4 million poor villagers across Bangladesh and provides inspiration to social entrepreneurs around the world. Sadly, it is occurring in a country where the government has been consistently ranked as highly?corrupt. Just this past June, the World Bank?canceled?$1.2 billion in financing for the much-needed Padma Bridge because of corruption at a high-level within the government. Continue reading “An Attack on Grameen Bank, and the Cause of Women”