Modern microcredit, born in Bangladesh, was hailed as an innovative poverty fix when it appeared on the global radar. The United Nations dubbed 2005 “the year of microcredit,” and the following year, Mohammed Yunus and his Grameen Bank won the Nobel Peace Prize. Soon, however, the pendulum of hype swung the opposite direction, as scholars began to question the efficacy of microfinance.
As a young child in Sylhet, Bangladesh, I remember my daily life being attached to the land. Thrills came from chasing my cousins barefoot down hot, dirt roads; from sneaking out to watch older kids play soccer in the neighboring green fields; from helping my grandmother water her crops. When it would rain, as it frequently does in Sylhet, I would anxiously wonder when it would stop.