Muhammad Yunus

Muhammad Yunus was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006

Born in Chittagong, Yunus studied in Chittagong Collegiate School and Chittagong College. He completed his BA and MA from Dhaka University. He got his Ph.D. in economics from Vanderbilt University in 1969 after getting a Fulbright scholarship. Later, he joined Chittagong University as a professor of economics. Yunus first got into the business of fighting poverty during a 1974 famine in Bangladesh. Yunus discovered that very small loans could make a significant difference in a poor person’s ability to survive.

His first loan consisted of $27 from his own pocket, which he lent to women in the village of Jobra – near Chittagong University – who made bamboo furniture. They sold these items back to moneylenders to repay usurious loans that they had take out to buy the bamboo. With a net profit of 5 Bangladeshi taka (.02 USD), the women were unable to support themselves or their families. However, traditional banks were not interested in making tiny loans to poor people, who were considered poor repayment risks.

In 1976, Yunus founded the Grameen Bank to make loans to poor Bangladeshis. Since then the Grameen Bank has issued more than US$ 5.1 billion to 5.3 million borrowers. To ensure repayment, the bank uses a system of “solidarity groups”. These small informal groups apply together for loans and its members act as co-guarantors of repayment and support one another’s efforts at economic self-advancement.

As it has grown, the Grameen Bank has also developed other systems of alternate credit that serve the poor. In addition to microcredit, it offers housing loans as well as financing for fisheries and irrigation projects, venture capital, textiles, and other activities, along with other banking services such as savings.

The success of the Grameen model has inspired similar efforts throughout the developing world and even in industrialized nations including the United States. The Grameen model of micro financing has been emulated in 23 countries. Many, but not all, microcredit projects also emulate its emphasis on lending specifically to women. More than 96 percent of Grameen loans have gone to women, who suffer disproportionately from poverty and who are more likely than men to devote their earnings to serving the needs of the entire family.

Award for Muhammad Yunus

  • 1978 – President’s Award, Bangladesh
  • 1984 – Ramon Magsaysay Award, Philippines
  • 1985 – Bangladesh Bank Award, Bangladesh
  • 1987 – Shwadhinota Dibosh Puroshkar (Independence Day Award), Bangladesh
  • 1989 – Aga Khan Award For Architecture, Switzerland
  • 1993 – CARE Humanitarian Award
  • 1994 – Winner of the World Food Prize
  • 1996 – Winner of the Simón Bolívar Prize of the UNESCO
  • 1998 – Receives Prince of Asturias Award
  • 1998 – Winner of the Sydney Peace Prize
  • 2004 – Winner of The Economist newspaper’s Prize for social and economic innovation.
  • 2006 – Receives an Honorary Doctorate from the American University of Beirut
  • 2006 – Mother Teresa Award, Kolkata, India
  • 2006 – 8th Seoul Peace Prize
  • 2006 – Nobel Peace Prize
  • And 46 others, for a total of 60.
Source Muhammed yunus
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