Poverty is opportunity. Sure, one can take a kaleidoscopic peek into the word's denotation, but poverty instigates and propels action intended for positive change. Today, around 700 million people are thought to live in extreme poverty, defined as surviving on less than USD 1.90 a day. In 1990, that statistic was more than 1.9 billion.
People are often very rude about ‘big push’ approaches to development – the idea that you can kickstart a country (or a millennium village) by simultaneously shoving in piles of different projects, technical assistance and cash. The approach hasn’t got a great track record, but now a kind of micro Big Push, targeting the ‘ultra poor’ in a range of countries, is showing some really promising results.
Stuart Rutherford is an expert in financial services for the poor, and the author of ‘The Poor and Their Money’. He founded SafeSave in 1996, to provide basic banking services in the slums of Bangladesh’s capital, Dhaka. Nearly two decades on SafeSave serves 19,000 clients, helping them afford everyday expenses and budget for bigger life events.
The following was originally posted by BRAC USA President & CEO Susan Davis in the Huffington Post.The UN has chosen today as a symbolic one on which the world's 7 billionth person might be born. The fact that it's Halloween is, as The New Yorker jokes, "presumably just a coincidence."
The following was originally posted by Alice Korngold on Fast Company. Alice Korngold is a Fast Company expert blogger, CEO of Korngold Consulting, and author of "Leveraging Good Will: Strenthening Non-profits by Engaging Businesses."
The following was originally posted by BRAC USA President & CEO Susan Davis on The Huffington Post. This morning, I received a touching letter from Munshi Sulaiman about his recent trip to Pakistan to see BRAC's Ultra Poor program there. Munshi has been working with BRAC for the last 8 years and currently coordinates BRAC's research activities outside Bangladesh.
Recently, the Carnegie Council's Carnegie Ethics studio editor, Julia Taylor Kennedy, interviewed BRAC USA President & CEO, Susan Davis, as part of a series on global business ethics. Davis and Kennedy discussed how BRAC got its start, how BRAC addresses the ultra-poor through microfinance, and the evolving relationship between corporations and nonprofit organizations. In the interview, Davis mentions how BRAC measures success in alleviating poverty in terms of empowering individuals. She notes, "Although there is no magic bullet, social entrepreneurship unlocks everybody's ability to be a change maker and to participate in the solutions to their own problems."The full transcript of this revealing and informative conversation is available on the Carnegie Council website here. Audio of the interview is also available here.
Below is an article published on the Nourishing the Planet blog by Matt Styslinger, who worked as Student Researcher at BRAC in 2008/ 2009, conducting field research on BRAC’s Water, Sanitation, & Hygiene (WASH) Program.
The Microcredit Summit Campaign, a project that was launched in 1997 by US-based nonprofit advocacy group RESULTS Educational Fund (REF), today released a report indicating that between 1990 and 2008 approximately 10 million Bangladeshis rose above the international poverty line of USD 1.25 a day. The study attributes this improved economic status to microfinance programs that enable poor people to start small businesses and access savings and insurance services. The study is based on a survey of approximately 4,000 Bangladeshi households from mostly rural communities and some urban slums that was conducted between February and August 2009 by a team led by Sajjad Zohir of Economic Research Group (ERG), a Bangladeshi nonprofit organization. Alex Counts, President and CEO of the Grameen Foundation, a nonprofit organization based in Washington, DC, supports the report saying, “There are quite a few people who believe that microfinance has lost its way. This Bangladesh survey reminds us that, even in the most difficult circumstances, major progress can be made.”