Grameen Trust usually supports microcredit programs in collaboration with local organizations interested in implementing such programs following GBA. However, in special circumstances, GT must directly implement the microcredit program without any intermediary organization, following its ?Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT)? Model. BOTs are set up in countries with difficult situations where GT has no partner organizations to support. GT identifies suitable branch locations, recruits staff, and begins microcredit operations in the chosen country. In 2003, three such BOT projects were in operation in various parts of the world. A brief description of these is as follows ?

? Turkish Grameen Microcredit Project (TGMP

The Turkish Grameen Microcredit Project was officially launched in Diyarbakir, southeastern Turkey on June 11, 2003. Professor Muhammad, Executive Trustee of Grameen Trust and Professor Aziz Akgul, of the Turkish Foundation for Waste Reduction signed an agreement for the implementation of a Grameen Trust build?operate?transfer Microcredit project for the poor communities in urban and rural Diyarbakir. Professor H.I. Latifee, Managing Director of Grameen Trust and Mr. Nusret Miroglu, Governor of Diyarbakir were also present. In March 2003, Professor Aziz Akgul, who is also a member of the Turkish National Assembly, visited Bangladesh with an invitation from the Prime Minister of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan for Grameen to implement a Microcredit project in Turkey. In response, Grameen Trust sent a delegation to Turkey to develop a project plan that was approved for funding by the Turkish Foundation. Afterwards, GT appointed the Project Director and two branch managers for this project from a team of highly experience staff of Grameen, who were sent off to begin the implementation process.

The project launch followed the International Conference on Poverty Reduction through Microcredit, which took place in Istanbul from June 9-10, 2003. Prime Minister Erdogan, who reiterated the commitment of the Turkish Government to poverty alleviation through microcredit in Turkey, inaugurated the conference, which was organized by the Turkish Foundation for Waste Reduction in consultation with Grameen Trust. Participants included high-level representatives of the Turkish Government, NGO leaders, bankers, academics, journalists and donor organizations. Microcredit practitioners from the Philippines, United Kingdom, United States, Nepal, Bosnia, Bangladesh, Vietnam and Kosovo were invited to discuss the experience and impact of Microcredit programs. The conference focused on issues such as:

  • Targeting the very poor
  • Achieving sustainability
  • Options for financing
  • Guidelines for regulatory environment of Microcredit programs.

As of December 2003, Turkish Grameen Microcredit Project has disbursed US$ 101,500 to 289 borrowers with an impressive repayment rate of 100%.

Kosovo Grameen Microcredit Project

The Kosovo Grameen Missione Arcobaleno Microcredit Fund (KGMAMF) is another GT BOT project that was established in June 2000 to aid conflict-affected women in the region. For this project, GT received US$ 4.83 million to establish a microcredit program, to help rebuild the economic activities of the poor in Kosovo. KGMAMF operates through four branches at Peje, Pristina, Gjilan and Prizren regions of Kosovo.

This project also enjoyed considerable success in 2003. As of December 2003, the project had disbursed US$ 10,330,101 to 4,733 borrowers with an outstanding balance of US$ 3,096,534 and accumulated group fund savings of US$ 180,744 during that period. The project enjoyed a 97% repayment rate.

The project also saw the successful completion of building up capacity of local staff, after which the majority of the expatriate management team returned to Bangladesh, leaving the operations of branches in the hands of local staff members. Now only two expatriates from the GT team remain there in managerial positions. KGMAMF also saw the extension of its 1 st phase of operations in 2003, with a plan to enter the 2 nd phase in mid-2004.

UNV-GT Zambia Microcredit Project

GT and UNV had been in negotiations for a few years to create a relationship for combating poverty through microfinance. These negotiation efforts took concrete form in mid-2003, as a follow up to which the Managing Director of GT met with UNV officials in Bonn, Germany, to discuss their future collaboration in Zambia. However, before the project was finalized, a four member technical mission consisting of officials from both GT and UNV visited Zambia from December 7-13, 2003. The purpose of this visit was to asses the situation, nurture the partnership and clarify the role of key partners and cooperative actors before the actual implementation of the project.

ollowing this joint mission in December 2003, the officials met a number of organizations including UNDP, CIDA, ICAZ, MBT, AMIZ, MPU, the Central Bank, MCDSS, two ministers and the NGO Association in Zambia. The members of the mission also saw various government officials, NGO representatives, microcredit practitioners and poor women from the rural areas and shared with them the global activities of Grameen Trust and the future possibilities of developing microcredit programs in Zambia following the Grameen Bank Approach. Subsequently, the operation of the microcredit project was set to begin in 2004.