A house is a basic human need. Grameen Bank introduced housing loans for its members as for back as in 1984.
Grameen Bank is virtually owned by its women members (only 5% are men). For a poor woman her house is her factory, storehouse and also a place where she lives with her family. Without a proper roof it is almost impossible to be productive. And above all a house provides honour and dignity to a family. A typical Grameen house is constructed with at-least four reinforced concrete pillars with corrugated iron roof. In addition there is a sanitary latrine.
Grameen's housing programme was chosen in 1989 by a Grand Jury, made up of top architects of the world, to receive the Aga Khan International Award for Architecture. From the Aga Khan Foundation, a Prize Certificate and US$ 35,450 (BDT 11,40,834) was awarded to Grameen Bank. Grameen Bank created a fund with this prize money and introduced awards for the best performing field level staff and branches.
Grameen Bank housing prize was introduced in 1990. Every year two staff members and one branch are nominated for the award. Since 1990 till 2000, twenty-two staff members and 10 branches have received the awards. An amount of Taka 50,000 for the two staff and 25,000 for the branch are paid in cash prize along with a certificate and a crest each year.
To give incentive to more staff, Grameen Bank introduced and additional prize for the best performer in house loan, providing award to staff in every zone since 1995. The zone level prize money is Taka 2,500 (for each zone). From 1995 to 2000, an amount of Taka 202,500 has been given as prize money amongst 81 staff members.