Microfinance, and a very sharp brain

We would like to join other bloggers in congratulating Muhammad Yunus for having been awarded the Nobel Peace Price.

The genesis of microfinance, in Professor Yunus’ own words.

Not often can we find personified examples of what we write about. For 3 out of the last 4 entries in this blog, I can not think of a better example than Muhammad Yunus, founder of the Grameen Bank-that launched the field of microfinance.

The entries:

– The Learning Cycle, including Concrete Experience and Active Testing: in 1976, when he was a Professor of Economics, he gave a small loan to a number of villagers. He didn’t preach. He acted.

Reflection, that led him to an Aha! moment : “If you can make so many people so happy with such a small amount of money, why shouldn’t you do more of it”? (quoted in NY Times today). His direct experience, and this Reflection, gave him the motivation to try and literally change the way many poor people live worldwide. It led to the birth of microfinance.

The joy of giving: I am sure Muhammad Yunus, and thousands of people involved in his work, has been amply rewarded with free dopamine and oxytocin. To quote today’s Financial Times, “Without collateral, the system has to rely on trust and social interaction to secure repayments. It is these fundamental aspects of human nature that can help forward not only development, but also peace”.

Plus, given that he has announced he will donate the $1.4m prize money, we can predict an even higher dopamine and oxytocin release in his brain, certainly higher than in the brain of the writer of this surprising article.

Good news: there is a solid pipeline of future Muhammad Yunuses, optimist and pragmatic social entrepreneurs (“New Heroes”, according to PBS):
– A great book titled How To Change The World, that profiles the field and some of its most inspiring participants
– The pioneers in supporting social entrepreneurs worldwide: Ashoka: Innovators for the Public
– Another great foundation: The Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship
– The Changemakers community
– And of course, Constant Learning at Grameen

Finally, a post on resiliency. Enjoy the weekend.


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