Gates Foundation awards $1.5m to Grameen Foundation

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Gates Foundation awards $1.5m to Grameen Foundation

Grant will help microfinance organisation tackle third-world poverty.

The Grameen Foundation, a not-for-profit microfinance organisation, has announced a US$1.5m grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Grameen Foundation sprang from the Grameen Bank of Bangladesh. It was founded in 1976 by economics professor Dr Muhammad Yunus who was convinced that women could break through poverty by taking small loans to start or expand tiny businesses.

The three-year grant will support Grameen Foundation's plan to reach five million additional new families and ensure that half of them permanently escape poverty within five years of becoming a microfinance client.

"The Gates Foundation is proud to partner with Grameen," said Sylvia Mathews, president of the Global Development Programme at the Gates Foundation.

"Time and again Grameen has proved that it is an effective leader in generating awareness of the importance of financial services for the poor, and identifying innovative solutions to help more families move permanently out of poverty."

Alex Counts, president and chief executive of Grameen Foundation, added: " For microfinance to reach its full potential to contribute to reaching the Millennium Development Goal of cutting extreme poverty in half by 2015, leading practitioners will need to accelerate their growth in outreach and improve their product offerings.

"In addition, research and development related to innovations that benefit the entire sector will need to be sped up.

"This grant from the Gates Foundation represents a significant infusion of capital that will empower our strategic plan and the grassroots partners and poor women who are its main beneficiaries."
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