Letter From Kosovo

July 31, 2002

Visit by Prof. Yunus was a big help. I also remember Prof. Latifee said to us whether it would be possible to go to Mitrovica area to extend our work, if we received fund from other sources. KFOR gave us information and showed us how Serbians and Albanians were living there. Mitrovica has witnessed lot of ethnic conflicts.

We held continuous brainstorming sessions on the 2nd phase of Kosovo involving all Grameen team members. Since you were physically present with us, we could share your views and ideas directly. It took us four days starting from July 18th to make the final draft of our Action Plan.

We are pleased to inform you that Mr. Michael Steiner SRSG and Head of UNMIK is interested in visiting our projects. We are trying our best to co-ordinate properly with the respective desks and offices. Mr. Michael Steiner who is now in New York in a meeting at the UN, announced that Grameen microcredit is doing good work in Kosovo. This news was broadcast through radio and TV on July 30th in Kosovo. Specially, our local colleagues were very happy to hear this news. Climate is not co-operating with us. We are getting long showers. We are worried about our members and their business in this season.

We are trying to increase our out reach and disbursements. Our progress till July 31st is as follows:

KGMAMF - Project At a Glance
Total loan disbursement (Euro)
Total loan repayment (Euro)
Repayment rate
Total no. of loanees
Total savings (Euro)
Total no. of villages
Total no. municipality
No. of staff

September 15, 2002

Both of your visits in July gave us more power and inspiration in a difficult situation. Sometimes, we feel sad that we have to wind up our operations. We started from scratch without knowing anything, faced new challenges and now we have to hand over our program to an organization to be nominated by UNMIK or the Italian government. (It may not understand the spirit and significance of Grameen Bank replication for the war affected people of Kosovo.)

We are hoping that some donor will come forward, as we would like to see the continuation of microcredit program in Kosovo, work that we have successfully launched.

Many of our borrowers have already completed their second loan and have also taken third loans. We have built up a very close relationship with them. They consider us as their friends and we feel so good whenever we meet them. So when we are with them we do not feel that we are far from our home in Bangladesh. How can we say good-bye to them?

We are now specially trying to reach the ethnic minorities and we are trying to approach very carefully minority groups such as the Roma, Eshkalia, Bosniac Serbians. Bosniac, Roma, Eshkalia though living in this country for more than 40 or 50 years, still do not speak the Albanian language. They got married with Albanians and were living side by side. We are trying our best to motivate our local colleagues to handle the matter in a peaceful way. But sometimes it is not easy. Through Prizren Branch also we are trying gradually to reach out to them (Bosniac, Roma, Eshkalia).

We all are physically well, strong in spirits, working very hard to increase the outreach and coverage with quality.

Project Director

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Must Find A Way


Reading Banker to the Poor left me alternately in tears and in excitement. For years I've been a clerical worker in a major bank in Oakland, California. I work in the Bank of America. From my high rise window every day, as I walk to and from my job, as I interact with others around me, I see so many disturbing things. We do have a terrible pervasive sense of hopelessness that you caught perfectly in your description of your experiences in the US--despair from having to struggle with a "system" that drains away hope and life and vitality. And it seems to be getting worse since 9-11, with further hardening and insularity. The gap is getting bigger and bigger, and the institutions in place for those less fortunate simply don't work!!!

More and more I'm uncomfortable with the role I play, however small, in keeping the juggernaut rolling over all the people who most need a chance in life. This discomfort has grown to such proportions that I feel I must find a way to actively change things. And just writing a check isn't enough for me. I have taken a look briefly at the web site for the US Grameen Foundation and plan to contact them as well.

Could you or an associate possibly tell me what opportunities there are to learn more? I'm willing to seriously consider traveling to Bangladesh or to other countries or right here in the US, where I could learn more about how it works and what I might be able to do. Since I've been a rather low-level clerical worker in banks, my experience is limited when it comes to the world of economics. I really hope there's some way I can take part in the kind of work Grameen Bank does. More than anything, I want to learn and then use what I've learned.

Patricia Welch
June 2, 2002

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Decentralise to Empower the Poor

I think a time has come when you should emphasize on use of appropriate technology in Asian countries for helping the poor. I have always felt that the whole world was so much mesmerized by Mahatma Gandhi's experiments with truth and violence, that it missed his concept of decentralized industries. These decentralized industries must be small, labour intensive, low cost, environmentally friendly and competitive in quality with world class production.

None born in EU or USA will be able to grasp the meaning of this approach as they had industrial revolution long back and have a small percentage of rural people. Of course, at present these industrial countries are facing music on environment front. They find no way out. As against this, the Asian countries have a long tradition of craftsmanship and more people live on self-employment involved in tiny industries. West can appreciate the idea of 'Small is Beautiful', but they can never practice it.

And a technology which enabled us to have book size computer, which was long back of room size, can easily develop such decentralized industries which will increase employment, empower the poor and enable us to compete.

Sanat Mehta
E-mail :
May 16, 2002

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Learning GB II

I would very much like to thank you again for sending me the different documents on Grameen. I have already read "GB at a Glance", "Grameen Bank II" and your article "Who is under fire ..?" I am very much impressed about the achievements during the last years. I am especially impressed with the process towards Grameen Bank II and the very innovative features and products. Hearty congratulations to all those who were willing to support this new orientation.

I would very much like to come back to Grameen and learn more about the new practices and guidelines - starting again from the bottom, by exposure. I am looking for an occasion, maybe in September. Sometimes I have a dream: We should initiate a "Joint Working Group on GB II"…

Karl Osner
Karthauser Strasse 40
53129 Bonn, Germany
July 7, 2002

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Towards A Credit Card Model

I want to congratulate Grameen on the tremendous effort that it has made to carefully examine its model from top to bottom and build in the flexibility it (and most other MFI models including most village banking and others) required to better meet the needs of their customers. From personal experience, I appreciate the difficulty of making fundamental changes in a model when the field staff have been taught that there is only one correct way of doing things. The resistance is tremendous. I also appreciate how well orchestrated the transition process was and how much planning it takes to implement a transition process as this successfully.

What is emerging is a model that appears more like a credit card in its conception than a fixed term line of credit with a standard payment. Rigidity is what explains much of the high drop out rate in many programs. The "aggravation index" is too high.

Jeffrey Ashe
Visiting Scholar
Institute for Sustainable development
Heller School, Brandeis University
E-mail :

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ILO Commitments to Microcredit Summit

I remain as enthusiastic today about the Summit Campaign as when we launched it in Washington five years ago. It is really impressive that our Campaign is on track to meet that targets and goals set. It's such a rare accomplishment. In these past five years, I have also seen progress in the way microcredit has continued to move from the fringes, to the centre of the most serious poverty eradication strategies.

In the ILO, micro-finance is an integral part of our strategy for advancing our work agenda. For example, we build it into the framework of efforts to combat HIV/AIDS, into empowerment programs for women in Asia, into our strategy to eliminate child labor, into our strategy to open up alternatives for bonded laborers and into our strategy to provide savings facilities for migrant workers whose remittances are crucial in their countries of origin. We have sought to improve and better integrate micro-finance into the Decent Work strategy.

We are currently undertaking a poverty targeting exercise which seeks to determine in a sample of ILO projects with revolving loan funds whether or not we actually are reaching the poorest. We will participate in a peer review initiated by Minister Clar Short for CGAP in early 2003, which will take stock of the impact and efficiency of ILO micro-finance portfolio. In November, the Committee on Employment and Social Policy of the ILO's tripartite Governing Body will discuss a policy document on micro-finance.

I will be following the outcome very closely and wish to contribute to the summit's success as one of its champions.

Juan Somavia
Director General
International Labor Office, Geneva
Fax: 4122 7998533
July 31, 2002

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Sharing the Spirit

These are hard days in our country and we are not satisfied with our work. Neither the motivations, nor the pay are in accordance with our skills, expectations and possibilities.

In the past we have been volunteers in small private initiatives to help poor communities in our country. These projects have helped very poor people in the interior of Argentina and we believe they shared the same spirit that have inspired your work.

It will be great to do what we know best, aim at the same time to go towards our own utopias and ideals. The same ideals and utopias many people share at Grameen. In short, to become active parts, working in your project.

We would be glad to join Grameen in our country or in any other place where our education, skills, culture and professional experience can help to accomplish your goals.

Ing. Diego M. Romero
Buenos Aires, Argentina
E-mail :
January 23, 2002

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An Idea !

I have just read the Portuguese version of Banker to the Poor. For some time I have heard about Grameen Bank, but not in such detail. In the introduction of the book it says something like "you can be liberal or conservative, young or old, but we can all unite our strengths fighting poverty". After reading about the Grameen Trust, the Replication Program and the goal to get 100 million dollars for these programs, I had an idea. Actually, I already talked to a friend working in a investment consultancy company based in Hong Kong, and he thinks it's a good idea, although, difficult to implement. But, nothing is impossible!

Why not to enlarge or modify your people's fund in order to obtain funds from the global capital market. The truth is that there is a huge liquidity in the market fueling speculative investments without any productive goals. This cannot go on indefinitely. There's already a crisis that probably will deepen soon (returns are becoming smaller and smaller, in part because there has been an over investment in the same markets). Some investors know this and are trying to find alternatives.

Imagine a fund that could be launched as a mix of a "charity fund" and an investment fund. Some people would contribute with the idea to promote development (there are many who care!) and others believing it could be a good long-term investment. This fund would not demand any minimum profitability and would not interfere in the management of the Grameen Trust in order to keep it's full independence.

There would be advantages for the contributors: they would know the money would be administered by a prestigious and credit worth organization (the money is not simply given, there is a bigger inventive to demonstrate its use); there is the possibility of getting the money back (it would be marketable, people could sell their parts from the fund) and on top of that there's a good chance of being profitable on the long term (most market caps of companies in the world market are only realistic in the long term, anyway) as it has proven in Bangladesh. Of course there are the risks: currency fluctuation, for example. But the starting point is so low and the growth potential so big, that it could largely offset those risks, I suppose.

It would be only a matter of having the right marketing to "sell" the fund! Do you think this is interesting and feasible? It's just an idea, anyway.

Jose Sousa
E-mail :
August 4, 2002

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Unspoken Thoughts

I am KGMAMF Field Worker from Peja Branch, and my name is Miredita Muriqi. On 16.07.02 we had staff meeting with you in Prishtina branch, but I was somehow shocked and I couldn't say a word, even it was my wish to express my thoughts.

Now I would like to write those worlds that I couldn't say on 16.07.02. I want to say that it was my pleasure that I met you that day. That day, was very great for us, for Kosova, and especially for KGMAMF, members. During the war, I have been in Switzerland; after my return in Kosova I saw that my town was destroyed including my house. I was interested to find any kind of job, because my family economic conditions were very bad. I started to work for KGMAMF. I will not forget that day when our P.D. Apa approved my application for the job.

I remember at the beginning when we visited a lot of villages totally destroyed. I was very much satisfied, because I could help my people through microcredit program. Specially I remember my centre no. 5 Loxha village where we held our projection meeting and group training under the tree, because all our members were living in small box houses. Thanks to KGMAMF microcredit, they are becoming stronger and they hope for a better future.

I want to say something about my branch manager Mr. Mir H. Chowdhury, even though it's very difficult to express all the things. For last two years that I am working with him, I never saw him tired, nervous or doing something that is wrong to do. He is very kind man, and he is doing his job professionally. He has done a lot for Kosova's people, and if this program is continuing then it's my colleagues pleasure to work with him. I think that he is a special personality in KGMAMF.

Miredita Muriqi
Field Worker, Peje Branch
KGMAMF, Kosovo

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 Editor : Muhammad
Executive Editor : Khalid Shams 
Editorial Assistance: Nazneen Sultana, Lamiya Morshed
Editorial Advisory Board: Argentina : Pablo Broder, Buenos Aires     Australia : Shan Ali, Sydney     Chile : Benardo Javalquinto, Santiago     Colombia : Mauricio Fernandez, Bogota     France : Maria Nowak, Paris     Germany : Nancy Wimmer, Munich     Malaysia : David S. Gibbons, Kuala Lumpur     Philippines : Dr. Cecilia D. Del Castillo, Bacolod City     USA : Alexander Counts, Washington DC
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