Grameen Bank is a microfinance organization and community bank founded by Mohammad Yunus, recipient of the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize for his work pioneering micro-financing as a response to the depredations of global poverty. Micro-finance may be viewed as a bottom-up response to problems of poverty, regarding micro-loans to the poor as a means to utilize skills already possessed by the poorest of the poor, unleashing their creative, entrepreneurial potentials. To this extent, microfinancing represents an alternative to top-down, state-level welfare programs, which are often viewed by advocates of micro-financing as responsible for creating dependency and taking away individuals’ initiative to break out of the cycle of poverty. Although certainly a goal of Grameen’s micro-financing programs is to help individuals’ escape poverty, the Bank has focused on the practice of so-called solidarity lending. Here each borrower must belong to a five-member group. The group, however, is not required...
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