Grameen Bank and Founder Win Nobel
Microfinance is like the musician who plays cruddy clubs for decades only to be hailed an overnight success. With proponents like Pierre Omidyar, the 17 million people already helped by microfinance worldwide will likely explode. But the path to this new paradigm began with a simple conversation in 1974 between Bangladeshi economist Muhammad Yunus and a woman weaving beautiful baskets. Since the resulting $27 loan to the weaver and her village, Yunus and the Grameen Bank he founded have lent $5.72 billion to 6.61 million people, 97% of whom are women.
Yesterday Yunus and Grameen were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Unwilling to leave well enough alone, the
New York Times reports: "The 65-year-old economist said he would use part of his share of the $1.4 million award money to create a company to make low-cost, high-nutrition food for the poor. The rest would go toward setting up an eye hospital for the poor in Bangladesh."