Sunday, September 14, 2008

Creating a World Without Poverty

I am currently reading Prof Muhammad Yunus' book Creating a World Without Poverty and finding it inspiring. The Grameen (meaning village) Bank he founded is very clear in its goal - help the poor in Bangladesh to get out of poverty via micro credit mainly to women. His idea on micro credit and giving loan to the poor has lifted more than 100 million families out of poverty. His work is a must read!!

One of the interesting feature in the system is the Sixteen Decisions - a set of social and personal commitment that each new member must pledge to follow if they want to be a borrower. Thus it is not just the credit that change their lives but also something deeper, good principles for the human spirit. Here are the Sixteen Decisions -

1. We shall follow and advance the four principles of Grameen Bank --- Discipline, Unity, Courage and Hard work - we shall follow and advance in all walks of our lives.

2. We shall bring prosperity to our families.

3. We shall not live in dilapidated houses. We shall repair our houses and work towards constructing new houses at the earliest.

4. We shall grow vegetables all the year round. We shall eat plenty of them and sell the surplus.

5. During the plantation seasons, we shall plant as many seedlings as possible.

6. We shall plan to keep our families small. We shall minimize our expenditures.We shall look after our health.

7. We shall educate our children and ensure that they can earn to pay for their education.

8. We shall always keep our children and the environment clean.

9. We shall build and use pit-latrines.

10. We shall drink water from tubewells. If it is not available, we shall boil water or use alum.

11. We shall not take any dowry at our sons' weddings, neither shall we give any dowry at our daughters wedding. We shall keep our centre free from the curse of dowry. We shall not practice child marriage.

12. We shall not inflict any injustice on anyone, neither shall we allow anyone to do so.

13. We shall collectively undertake bigger investments for higher incomes.

14. We shall always be ready to help each other. If anyone is in difficulty, we shall all help him or her.

15. If we come to know of any breach of discipline in any centre, we shall all go there and help restore discipline.

16.We shall introduce physical exercise in all our centres. We shall take part in all social activities collectively.


Paul Seah said...

Prof Yunus re-wrote the concepts of socio-economics that left many "experts" baffled up to today. Sigh..if only every government can just look at its simplicity, this is the answer to end poverty.

Ann said...

I was lucky enough to have been able to hear him speak and feature him in my column during his visit to KL last year. I don't think I blinked once throughout his 40-minute speech. I was THAT captivated by him, his mind, his perspective, his presence. It further reinforced my firm belief that if all of the world's wealth were evenly diffused, there would be no poverty. Truly a remarkable man...