Government Committee Endorses
Yunus' Proposal for IT Development
November 16, 2000
William J. Clinton
President of the United States
The White House
Washington, D.C. 20500
19, 2000, the President's Information Technology Advisory Committee
(PITAC) met with Professor Muhammad Yunus, Managing Director of
the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh. During our public session, Professor
Yunus presented his proposal to create an international enter for
information technology specializing in problems of developing economies.
This session also included briefings on your Administration's work
with the G-8 to bridge the global digital divide. PITAC members
were favorably impressed by Professor Yunus' past accomplishments,
for which you honored him and other human rights defenders later
that evening during the Speak Truth to Power performance at the
Kennedy Center. His proposal to use the power of information technology
to provide new solutions to the economic, social and cultural issues
that arise in developing nations is directly related to PITAC's
interest in international information technology issues. PITAC would
like to encourage the Administration to assist Professor Yunus in
As you know,
PITAC has highlighted the impact that information technology and
its applications can have on society. We believe that Professor
Yunus' proposal focussing on the transformative power of information
technology to assist in solving the problems of developing economies
is timely, creative, and important. It is consistent with the Administration's
global call to action for digital opportunity announced jointly
with other G-8 leaders in July. Your leadership can be an important
catalyst to non-governmental efforts such as the Yunus proposal,
which seek to ensure that more people have access to the tools of
the information age and are able to use these tools to positively
benefit the economic, social and cultural fabric of each nation.
would like to extend an offer of our assistance, should you wish
to convene interested parties to further explore Professor Yunus'
proposal to create an international center. While we recognize that
Information Technology is primarily an enabling tool and the issues
raised here are complex and difficult, we believe, if properly guided,
it can be of value in solving the complicated problems facing developing
economies. Please let us know how we might best support the Administration
is this objective. As always, we look forward to working with you
on information technology issues of national and global importance.
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I was watching Star World and saw your interview on the Focus Asia
Programme. Before that I had read about your work in Asiaweek or
Newsweek. I am truly happy to learn that people like you still exist.
I live in Karachi, Pakistan and economic conditions in Pakistan
are moving from bad to worse. While the emphasis remains on foreign
borrowing and its consequent misuse, the poor, who account for 70%
of the massive 140 million population are ignored. I believe, the
concept of empowering the people to function on a self-help basis
is an important one. I would like to do my part in helping you.
Ideally I would prefer if Grameen could make governmental level
contact and establish a set up in Pakistan to bring relief to the
hapless people. Countries like India and Pakistan really need your
help. I hope to further take up this discussion with you.
October 6, 2000
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I really need to share with you some of my latest experiences. I
attended the study visit to the Grameen Bank Housing Programme in
October 1999, thanks to Mr. Shan Ali of Grameen Foundation Australia
and Miss Diane Diacon of BSIIF, England, and also to the 34th Grameen
Bank International Dialogue Programme. I could never forget Nurbanu
Begum (my study case) and the other women I met in the Shakpura
Branch and how their lives had changed thanks to the Grameen Bank
loans. I work with de ACJ (YMCA) Ecuador, in a micro-credit programme
in Quito. Since last April, I started to adopt as many elements
as possible of Grameen methodology in our programme. At the moment
we already have amazing results: our repayment rate has risen from
90% to more than 98%; attendance to the regular meetings has risen
from maybe 5% to 90%; our operational costs have lowered dramatically.
These last two
weeks the ACJ-Ecuador organised an international workshop for more
than 20 delegates from the ACJs of Colombia, Brazil, Uruguay, Mexico,
Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, Ireland and the four
cities where we work in Ecuador. The workshop's purpose was to share
different approaches of work on development issues. We gave a paper
on our Quito micro-credit programme with Grameen methodology, which
was enthusiastically received by all the delegates. The ones who
don't have micro-credit programs are now very interested in starting
Grameen type micro-credit in their countries and the ones that already
have such programs, are most interested in adopting Grameen methodology.
The delegate from one of the Central American countries came with
the idea that solidarity groups and peer pressure do not work in
her country. But after listening to our presentation and visiting
one of our centre meetings, she said she now understands why it
happens; she realised it is not a problem of the people in her country,
but a problem of methodology. We all have made an agreement to help
each other and share our learnings and experiences.
September 3, 2000.
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Greetings from Kosovo!
I am writing
to you because in the last six months I have experienced though
marginally, the implementation of what looks like the most effective
way to eradicate poverty i.e. micro credit according to Grameen
Bank's principles. In the months I have spent with Jannat, Habib,
Mir Mafizul, my amazement has grown continuously. Missione Arcobaleno
has financed a very large number and variety of projects throughout
the Balkan area to help the victims of the war: I have seen reconstruction
of schools, houses and hospitals; social and psychological assistance
to elderlies, children, women and handicapped; works on landfills
and aquaducts; and many other activities. But I have not seen anything
reaching so deep in the core of poverty, combining emergency and
development, bringing in help from outside as well as stimulating
self help and confidence, like I have seen with Grameen Trust.
My great ambition
is to gain more experience on micro-credit and have a chance to
work with Grameen. I would be very happy to spend some months fully
involved in one of Grameen Trust's programmes. There are essentially
two aspects I'd like to explore.
micro-credit is? In fact, from my experience here, in Kosovo, it
is very much indeed. But I would want to see more, elsewhere.
impacts on the environment and whether it can be utilised as a tool
to integrate economic development and environmental protection.
Do you think
it is possible for me to join Grameen Bank Replication Programme
for three/four months from March/ April 2001? My original idea was
to join Grameen directly in Bangladesh, then I realised that not
being able to speak the language would drastically diminish the
chance to make it a useful experience.
Would you be
so kind to connect me to one of the replication programmes in the
Philippines or in South America, where I can really learn Grameen
replication as an intern?
Mission Arcobaleno-Peje <email@example.com>
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