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Grameen International Conference on Microfinance in India

Professor Muhammad at the inauguration ceremony of Grameen Trust India and Grameen Microcredit Conference
Grameen International Conference on Microcredit and a Training Program on Grameen Generalized System were organized by Grameen Trust, Bangladesh and Grameen Trust India in Mumbai, from February 1 to 3, 2007. The Conference was inaugurated by Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad. On this occasion he also formally inaugurated Grameen Trust India, which began operations from the beginning of 2007.

The conference highlighted keynote addresses on the present status and future of microcredit in India, challenges of reaching the poorest with microcredit, regulatory and legal issues facing microfinance development as well as participation of commercial banks and other financial institutions in microfinance development in India. More than 200 delegates from Grameen Trust partners and other microfinance practitioners in India, policy makers, business executives, social activists, members of the civil society, academia, diplomats and other dignitaries participated in the conference. Microfinance leaders in India presented papers outlining their experience in the field.

Inauguration of Grameen Trust India

During the opening ceremony Professor Yunus, along with Dr. Thorat, Professor Latifee, Mr. Udaia Kumar and Dr. Kulkarni, formally inaugurated operations of Grameen Trust India following the ceremonial lighting of the lamps. Setting up of GTI is a major milepost in the history of microcredit movement India. It is expected to play a major role in accelerating expansion of microcredit movement in the country.

Training Program on Grameen Generalized System

A special training program on Grameen Generalized System (GGS) was held on February 3, 2007, following the International Conference on Microcredit. The training program was attended by more than 70 representatives of Grameen Trust partners, senior management and staff members from various microfinance institutions in India interested in replicating the Grameen Bank Approach (GBA) for poverty alleviation through microcredit, as well as representatives from the financial sector.

Professor H. I. Latifee, Managing Director, Grameen Trust, welcomed the participants to the workshop and gave the introductory address.

The workshop was divided into two sessions. Mr. Abdul Hai Khan, General Manager, Grameen Trust, presented an Introduction to GGS. Mr. Siddiqur Rahman, General Manager, Grameen Bank, conducted the Session on 'Key Features of GGS.'

Professor Muhammad presided over an hour long concluding session following the workshop. This served as an open forum to discuss various issues faced by microfinance practitioners in India.

Professor Yunus lauded the delegates for their tireless support of the Grameen model of microcredit for poverty alleviation in India. He also encouraged the MFIs to involve celebrities in their programs to promote social causes, following the example of social groups in the West where celebrities responded positively by supporting various social causes.

Report By Tamim Islam, Grameen Trust