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before we get into technicalities about whether microcredit can be better- can you help us edit this script on what every person should know about why microcredit is an exciting innovation for humanity? chris.macrae@yahoo.co.uk

2 What is Microcredit? Designing the safest banking system so that the poorest are everywhere included in developing the world.

1 What is Social Business? The most exciting entrepreneurial collaboration game.

Microcredit multiplies hi-trust flows through sustainability investments geared to empowering the lifelong productivity potentials of the poorest. With caring peer to peer support, poor members of this cooperative banking system take out loans to maximise entrepreneurial actions connecting their own income generating capability and communal mapping of how to compound the end of poverty.

In 2006, approximately 6 million women and one man were awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace. This came as true validation for 30 years of relentless service in building the safest sustainability investment bank. These peoples had started with less than nothing - when Bangladesh won independence as a nation, it did so at the terrifying price of flattened infrastructure and a famine that killed a million people. And amongst the poorest of the poor were women villagers who were culturally regarded as the world’s least productive people.  Today, to join in open sourcing microcredit worldwide is a joyous invitation - the privilege of sharing the opportunity to action learn what is simply the best collaboration game that economists or social agents have ever played with each other.


How do we check that microcredit is worth sustainability investors trusting as the most value multiplying branded methodology of our generation? As a media mapmaker and mathematician, I always like to go back to founders’ motivations to explore both the logical and human assumptions around which a world class brand system evolved and compounded its gravitational impacts. It is here that we often find the deepest insights into sustainability investment’s essence of goodwill multiplication around a transparent value exchange’s productive and demanding relationships.

As well as Muhammad Yunus, another Muslim man Professor Latifee, a Muslim woman Mrs Begum and a Buddhist man Dipal Barua were the start up team whose love of helping the poor designed microcredit and founded Grameen (“Village”) Bank.

As a lifelong team, these inspiring servant leaders regularly elect Dr Yunus as their chief cheerleader and curious innovator sans frontieres. His humour and kindly boldness go to places - uniting young and old, poor and rich, hemisphere with hemisphere - that I have not seen any other local or global brand leader explore. The most telling account that I can find of what microcredit systemised during its first quarter of century of practice is this one issued by the majority Hindu nation of India.  

Gandhi Peace Prize 2000

Citation : Grameen bank, Bangladesh

There are few institutions that inspire faith in humanity - even in the environment of material greed, soulless careerism, exploitation and pursuit of naked power - institutions that live with the credo that “small is beautiful” even when the world is being besieged by the philosophy of the big. They are the institutions that live with a soul committed to fighting the inroads of global homogenization, seeking to provide succour to the deprived yet diligent common people and proving that unity can work miracles even in an age of growing individualism.

The Gandhi Peace prize 2000 is being awarded to one such institution which has been helping the marginalized masses to reject charity and to master their own destiny instead. It has been helping them tap their innate capabilities of entrepreneurship, thereby bringing them hope confidence and cheer.

Here is a fraternity of perseverance and service that promotes dignity and adherence to truth. Here is development which enabled millions of women from poor households to acquire a new meaning in life. Here is development with a human face which is not populist but people-centred and which promotes self-help and self-respect, values dear to Mahatma Gandhi.

Professor Muhammad Yunus, economist at the University of Chittagong, probably did not know that he was launching a revolution when he started his action project and lent a small amount of money to a poor woman to help her build her own life. The success of this experiment gave birth to Grameen bank. This bank radically reversed conventional banking practices with their emphasis on collateral security, practices which has given rise to the witticism that the best way to get a loan in convince the banker that you don’t need one.

Here is a new banking system in rural areas that is based on mutual trust, solidarity, participation, peer monitoring and accountability. Its operations indicate the faith of its founding father, Muhammad Yunus, that if financial resources are made available to the poor on terms and conditions that are appropriate and reasonable “these millions of small people with their millions of small pursuits can add up to create the biggest development wonder.” The success of grameen bank has won international acclaim and emulation. With its participatory approach, emphasis on women entrepreneurs, women’s empowerment and employment creation, the microcredit projects have come to be hailed as a very promising approach to poverty eradication.

Mahatma Gandhi gave the world a talisman

“Whenever you are in doubt or when the self becomes too much with you apply the following test

Recall the face of the poorest and weakest man whom you have seen and ask if the step you contemplate is going to be of any use to him. Will he gain anything by it? Will it restore him to a control over his life and destiny? In other words will it lead to Swaraj for the hungry and spiritually starving millions?

Then  you will find your doubts and your self melting away”

Grameen bank, Bangladesh is an invitation par excellence, which passes the test with great elan

Any game - indeed any human goodwill multiplying system - spins beyond current results to future consequences.  These Whole Truths –as Churchill named them - depend on a handful of simple rules that are embedded into the game. Surely, the least that worldwide networkers who want to help create a world without poverty can do to honour the founders of microcredit in propagating their open source collaboration game is to help everyone know the key rules.

Moreover, professional players including billionaire philanthropists at the top of the world opinion leadership ought to anticipate that anyone who changes the key rules of Bangladeshi microcredit is playing a different game- one which may spiral viciously opposite consequences to the goodwill multiplying ones that Grameen Microcredit has been validated to achieve

Key rules of Bangladeshi/Grameen Microcredit include:

Its governance constitution should be that of the social business model, ie its is communally owned by the poorest. Its primary measure is : are we compounding exponential ending of poverty over time?

Its system design should always proactively renew its service reach to the poorest of the poor

Its peer to peer relationship structures are designed so that everyone can see how to integrate win-win-wins between 3 levels of entrepreneurship – the individual microentrepreneur, team entrepreneurship, and sustainable community entrepreneurship


Dr Yunus encourages microcredit alumni to say there’s magic in the word micro. I think he is advising creators of social businesses to experiment over and over with the key rules of your proposed collaboration game until you are sure they systemise sustainable win-win-wins;  then openly replicate the map of how to play the game worldwide to any locality that may have an analogous problem to solve to that which you intended to share your communal solution with. The reasons why micro entrepreneurs win out with the greatest innovations for humanity include experimentation at low cost and detailing patience for as long as it takes; only then replicate big as boldly as a free market or open networking can do.

Microcredit does not attempt to wave its magic wand instantly but is confident that wherever truly mapped it keeps on compounding up. William Gates has said of exponential system transformation change that a lot less than you might expect happens in three years and a lot more in 7 years. That’s because sustainability exponentials bend a curve in ways that straight-line numbers men (eg the global consultancy who forecast the future demand for mobiles in Bangladesh) will always get wrong. Historically evidence from Bangladesh shows that:

· Seven years into being a microcredit member, a Bangladesh woman villager will end poverty

· Fourteen years in there is a realistic chance that the children of this previously illiterate family will be studying to be doctors or engineers 

There is hope that these historical results will prove conservative compared with what can now be achieved as mobiles connect the village centres. This combined with a nation that has spent 21 years investing in scaling up microcredit provides village-connected channels of information and free marketing power which is back in the hands of united customers. Consider again the example of Bangladesh as world’s lading installer of solar units. What makes the economics of solar power work to bring electricity to rural households for the first time is community wide adoption of the same solar standard together with a long-term credit option so that 25 years of free electricity can be installed from the outset. But please note as for all true microcredit loans this is an investment in personal productivity not in fuelling consumption for some non-essential need.

Dr Yunus –and all of microcredit’s co-founders - love the whole of Bangladesh. And they also love to see microcredit transplanted in other continents, particularly by and for next generations. One of the most exciting transplantations is Jamii Bora in Kenya. Here the underclass deprived of the human right of credit was youth including huge numbers of teenage orphans around the slum of Kibera.

Micro Example: Early experiments at Jamii Bora showed that Bangladesh’s 98% repayment rates were not being transplanted in Kenya. The reason was not the community of poor African youth were any less intrinsically honest than village women but members of their extended family were falling critically ill and this human crisis diverted the loans to paying for urgent medicine. The solution :  Kenyan youth microcredit could not work without supplying micro health insurance. Fortunately, Jamii Bora found missionary hospitals that it could buy mass healthcare contracts from and this offer affordable micro health insurance together with microcredit.

So, the social dynamics that need to be repaired for goodwill multiplication to end the poverty chaining system among youth in Kenya are different from that of the world’s poorest village women.  Yet the same collaboration game of microcredit maps the systemic solution needed. Today, Jamii Bora has become a microcredit centre of gravity of extraordinary partnership including wholeplanetfoundation.org. World leading community builders including Dr Yunus and President Obama will likely cheer as loud as anyone if Jamii Bora becomes the worldwide benchmark for youth microcredit.  


List of Microcredit Summit Campaign Conferences
1997, Microcredit Summit, Washington, DC, February 2-4.
1998, Global Microcredit Summit, New York City, June 24-27.
1999, Global Microcredit Summit, Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire, June 24-27.
2000, Middle East/Africa Region Microcredit Summit, Harare, Zimbabwe, October 8-13.
2001, Asia/Pacific Region Microcredit Summit, New Delhi, India, February 2-5.
2001, 1st Latin America/Caribbean Region Microcredit Summit, Puebla, Mexico, October 9-12.
2002, Global Microcredit Summit +5, New York City, November 12-13.
2004, Asia/Pacific Region Microcredit Summit, Dhaka, Bangladesh, February 16-19.
2004, Middle East/Africa Region Microcredit Summit, Amman, Jordan, October 10-13.
2005 Latin America/Caribbean Region Microcredit Summit, Santiago, Chile, April 19-22.
2006, Global Microcredit Summit, Halifax, Canada, November 12-15.
2008, Asia/Pacific Region Microcredit Summit, Bali, Indonesia, July 28-30.
2009, Latin America/Caribbean Region Microcredit Summit, Cartagena, Colombia, June 8-10.

some reviews
John Hatch FIMCA et al 2002:

1.1.  Behold what is rapidly becoming the largest self-help undertaking in human history—bringing hope, dignity, and empowerment to tens of millions of the world’s poor and poorest families. Behold a movement with global outreach, that has penetrated beyond city slums and market towns to even the most isolated villages. Behold an industry that embraces thousands of NGOs, credit unions, public and private banks, and an infrastructure of hundreds of thousands of community-based peer lending groups that are enabling many of the planet’s most disadvantaged households to generate the additional income and savings they need to keep their children alive, nourished, healthy, and able to attend school. Behold a profession that in theory offers a compellingly simple strategy for breaking the vicious cycle of poverty, but which in practice is extremely difficult to implement—first because it involves myriad adjustments to highly different cultural settings, methodologies, and institutional structures while simultaneously facing complex technical challenges involving client services, scale-up, financing, evaluation, governance, training, technical assistance, government regulation, economic instability, civil disturbances, and natural disasters. 


1.2   When the Microcredit Summit Campaign was launched in 1997—with a 9-year goal of providing financial services to 100 million of the world’s poorest families—there were 1,700 members of the Campaign worldwide, of which 800 were members of the Campaign’s Council of Practitioners. Five years later the total number of  institutions that have have joined the Campaign is more than 4,500, of which more than 2,800 (and still continuing to grow briskly) have joined the Campaign’s Council of Practitioners.[1]

[1]  Taken from the Microcredit Summit Campaign database May 20, 2002.

Archived papers of microcreditsummit

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