Grameen project is an initiative started by professor Muhammad Yunus head of the rural Economics program at the University of Chittagong during his action research project to look at the chances of designing a credit delivery system to offer banking services targeted at the rural poor. Its objectives was to extend banking facility to the poor, eliminate exploitation of the poor by money lenders, make opportunities for self-employment for the jobless persons in rural Bangladesh, and to bring women who were disadvantaged inside the fold of an organizational set-up which they can comprehend and administer themselves. In this project, women from the same locality having the same economic goals come together to form a group of five members. A member of the group is given a loan which she repays weekly.
To get women to join the project, Yunus used different strategies. Firstly, he interacted with them personally. Through this, he was able to answer there questions and in the process he made women join his project. Secondly, Yunus used his own money to give loans. This boosted the women’s businesses making them to join Yunus project. Also, Yunus employed young women. These young women helped Yunus convince other women to join his initiative. Despite all this effort, Yunus faced huge obstacles in trying to woo this women join his group. In trying to persuade women to join his project, they would literally run away from Yunus and his team thinking that this was not the right thing for them to do. Moreover, they feared there husband’s reaction if they joined the project and even went to an extent of suggesting that the loans should be given to them (husbands). Most the women were illiterate; this greatly affected the communication process and also the understanding how to handle the money they had.
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Grameen’s project is far much different from the IMF’s project. Unlike the IMF’s project which entails teaching the poor before giving them the grant, Grameen project empowers the skill one has. This project does not facilitate any training but it helps build the survival skill one has. The IMF’s project is aimed at building roads, bridges and things of the sort but Grameen’s project is aimed at empowering the poor earn a living through providing them with loans to promote their businesses. In the developing world, Grameens project can be very effective in alienating poverty. The project is personalized to an individual. This removes the obstacle of political leaders who in developing world are so corrupt and can not forward the funds to the poor instead they use the funds for their own good. In developed world, since there is a good network of infrastructure and also then leadership system is in order, the IMF’s project can be effective.
Yunus on several occasions has criticized the World Bank. In one occasion, the World Bank president, Barber Conable, claimed to be providing financial aid to Grameen in Bangladesh. This statement received criticism from Yunus. Also, Yunus criticized the way the World Bank handled the people who received its aid. The World Bank was dictating how the beneficiaries were handling there businesses and this was against Yunus principles. In another instance, Yunus criticized how the formula in which the World Bank releases its fund. This was because a large percentage of the funds were spent on construction of roads and other such like projects instead of helping the poor. This only benefited the elite in the society.
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