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Archive for the ‘Donors and Microfinance’ Category

top 3 ways for microfinance to get its groove back.

April 29, 2011 Leave a comment
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a saint or a sinner? Yunus in the firing line

January 11, 2011 Leave a comment

Recent reports that Nobel Prize winner Yunus’ Grameen Bank could have misused funds granted to it by the Norwegian government have resurfaced within the last couple of weeks. The allegations are that $96Million in funds were diverted from the Grameen legal entity to which they had been granted in the first  place and these funds were not subsequently utilised for the purpose for which they were intended. Grameen has issued a strong statement confirming that the transfers were made but the main reason behind these transfers was the utilisation of a tax loophole. On hearing  the word ‘tax loophole’,  the Bangladeshi government has jumped into the fray and stated categorically that Grameen should be paying its dues and it doesn’t care whether  has a nobel prize or not!!  Some quarters have commented that the Bangladeshi government doesnt like the near Hollywood -like cult figure that  Yunus’ cuts in Bangladesh which Yunus is, he is a  true darling of the Western world and that seems to run teh Bangladeshi’s up the wrong way!

It is not unusual for leaders with an almost saint-like status to go through periods of  sustained personal attacks(eg Jesus  Christ, Mother Teresa, Barrack Obama etc etc) But this particular attack brings to light an interesting aspect from the microfinance perspective and shows just how much Grameen has received in donor funding for its programs. The grant in question was just from one donor and it totalled almost 100million dollars, how much else does Grameen get? Is this clearly reflected in the poor that it serves in Bangladesh? are donors asking for accountability in terms of the impact of their dollars? Is there a clear correlation between dollars spent and the increase in the quality of live in some of the poor countries that Grameen serves? All interesting questions that don’t question the character of the Grameen founder but raise awareness of the need to measure the impact of microfinance in poor communities of the world.