"Inspiration from Bangladesh" | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, January 19, 2009 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, January 19, 2009

"Inspiration from Bangladesh"

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It was different from the usual report on Bangladesh in German dailies.
The sporadic reporting on Bangladesh here is virtually confined to something "dramatic" only, usually a disaster, natural or man made.
The recent overwhelming vote for democracy and rejection of the religious fanatics in Bangladesh are reported in some details in most newspapers.
I am referring here to a different news item in the Suddeutsche Zeitung (SZ), a major national daily from Munich.
In the January 2, 2009 issue the economic section of SZ bears a title: "Inspiration aus Bangladesh".
It reports that the city of Paris, after a yearlong debate and discussion, has adopted a version of the "microcredit" method, invented by Dr Muhammad Yunus originally to fight poverty in a developing country.
From this month the city of Paris (one of the richest in the world) is covering all its quarters to provide microcredits to the needy through one of the oldest banks of the city, Credit Municipal. The number of poor people needing help in the city has increased by a third during the last one year and is increasing further due to the recent global recession.
A monetary measure of poverty is of course relative. The items to be financed with the microcredit in a developed economy (per capita income over $32,000) and in a developing economy (per capita income, say, $1,000), could also be quite different. In Bangladesh for example it is perhaps a loan to buy a goat or a mobile phone for renting, to a lady in a village; in Paris it is a loan to buy a computer for a young son of an unemployed single mother (who has to live on a "social security" income of 685 Euro per month) or for financing a vocational training course, or to cover the fees for a driving license course.
It is interesting to note that the loanee typically is a woman whether in Bangladesh or in Paris.
In his early experiments in microcredit, in the seventies, Dr Yunus came to a crucial discovery: women in general were more responsible for the well-being and the economic future of the family members than men in a similar economic situation.
This is one reason for the overwhelming preponderance of women members of microcredit institutions in Bangladesh (and now in many other countries of the world), as well as their success.
Analysing the first institution building phase of Grameen Bank, two Norwegian social scientists, in their early study of the phenomenon, noted (among many other interesting things) the silent pride and determination of Grameen Bank -- its leader and its members --- to succeed in the struggle to free the country from the grip of poverty. The two writers surmised that it could lead to an unexpected present from Bangladesh, a silently proud nation, to the world: an institution to fight poverty anywhere.

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Grameenphone and Robi:
Type START <space> BR and send SMS it to 2222

Banglalink:
Type START <space> BR and send SMS it to 2225

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