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Building Capacity to Stay Out of Poverty
Studies show that Grameen borrowers are steadily moving out of poverty. According to one study, 5 per cent of the borrowers move out of poverty each year (Shahidur R. Khandker, 1998). GGS extends its attention to the children of Grameen families as a part of Grameen strategy to build capacity within families to keep them out of poverty once they have moved out. No slipping back.
Grameen Bank has introduced higher education loans for all students from Grameen families who can enter into the higher educational institutions (medical schools, engineering school, universities, professional schools, etc). Loans are given to the students directly, without going through their parents. Student are made responsible to repay the loans when they start earning.
Scholarships are awarded every year to the school students from Grameen families, on a competitive basis. Half the number of scholarships are reserved for girl students. Remaining 50 per cent is open for both boys and girls. Each year Grameen Bank gives out 3,704 scholarships, and makes sure each branch can provide at least one scholarship. Gradually the number of scholarships will be increased as more and more students are available to compete for these scholarships.
Computerization of Grameen Accounting and Monitoring System
GGS got a big boost from a new program to computerise the branch level accounting and MIS for all the branches. It is being done through setting up of "Information Management Centre" at the area level. All information from the branches are fed into the computers located at the area office. Branch staff is freed from the heavy load of book-keeping and filling-in of the MIS blanks. Now that computer does all the work, staff can concentrate on improving the quality of lives of the borrowers. 67 per cent of the branches are now computerised. By the end of 2002, this percentage will rise to 85 or more.
Since many branches are connected by mobile phones, we are looking forward to taking the next logical step to integrate the entire information system through intranet. Already most of the zones are connected with each other and the head office through intranet.