Friday, October 13, 2006

2006 Nobel Prize For Poverty Bankers

As a Bangladeshi-Canadian Muslim this makes me extremely proud. Atlast they have recognized this great man for his simple yet practical solution to eliminating poverty from the world. With his business venture he has enrichened himself as well as empowered thousands of poor, rural women. He also shattered stereotypes of the country, by allowing women not only to earn and make financial decisions for the family, but to act as a role model for others.

Just out of curiosity, and as a thought exercise, I wonder if such a project will work in Canada. For starters, Grameen Bank only lends to women - because they don't waste the money on gambling, drinks or women unlike their husbands. Pretty soon someone will bring a Charter challenge to that, citing discrimination by gender. Second, the bank uses a system of collective co-security. For example, if four people want the loan, the bank will assign it to one of them, but each of the four will have to co-sign as guarantor. When the first person pays it back, the loan goes to the second person, and so on. If the first person wants to default or slack off her project, the others pressurize her and "motivate" her to succeed. Could this be intimidation in Canada?

Interesting how concepts work differently across different cultures.

This year the Novel committee has struck twice; first by awarding the Literature prize to Orhan Pamuk of Turkey they have promoted freedom of expression, and second by awarding it to Muhammad Yunus they have promoted a practical way of fighting poverty and realising visions.



Herb said...

It's wonderful to see Yunus and the Grameen Bank get this recognition. They've been doing good work for a long time.

knb said...

I read about this man and his venture last year I think. I thought he was remarkable.

I would agree, it is an inspired choice.

JAH Strategies said...

Good choice.

I am at war with TDH. Make peace with that.


Wayne said...

Great Post, great work, by great people.

Why are you a Bangladeshi-Canadian Muslim? My family do the same thing, Scotish-Canadian Christians.

I wish we would just honour our past and our religions by our deeds, tolerance and respect of each other.

We are all just a part of the Nation Canada, we are all just Canadians.

My politics are different from yours, but I always enjoy reading your posts.

mezba said...

Herb, knb: It was a great choice. My family in B'desh are very close friends of Dr Yunus so it was doubtly joyous for them. As for me, I have only met the man once at a social gathering and he was extremly knowledgable, smart and gracious with the praises that were lavished on him then. I saw him being interviewed today on BBC and he was still humble.

Jah: for some reason I cant even access TDH Strategies through my browser (Firefox) - it crashes.

Wayne: Welcome to the blog. I put Bangladeshi Canadian Muslim because each of them defines what I am and neither one is in conflict with the other. It's like someone saying they are a black Canadian woman - all of that would be true and you could be equally proud of that.

I know that I am at heart a Canadian but I will always be influenced and shaped by my Bangladeshi heritage. Hope that helps.

Wayne said...

It does help, thanks.

Anonymous said...

Dr Yunus was also chosen for being a positive example from the Muslim world.

Mr Yunus was chosen was his positive role in the Islamic world

Ole Danbolt Mjoes, the chairman of the Nobel Committee, said that one reason Mr Yunus was chosen was his positive role in the Islamic world: “This idea was generated in a mostly Muslim country.”