The Grameen Bank has enabled millions of women to lift themselves out of poverty by giving them tiny loans to buy animals or equipment to start earning money. But Bangladesh's jealous Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina, has fired its Nobel Prize winning founder Muhammad Yunus and now wants to seize control of the bank, all to silence a political rival. This takeover could break the bank and destroy millions of people's hope.
Hasina has been mired in a series of scandals at home -- if we can add a giant global backlash to her list of worries, we can force her to back down. When 1 million of us come together, Avaaz will kickoff a media firestorm in Bangladesh and around the world, shaming her into ending this vengeful attack. Sign the urgent petition now:
The Grameen Bank is very different from the big giants of Wall Street. They loan money to 8.4 million people, mostly women from the poorest villages in Bangladesh, so they can buy assets like cows or sewing machines and start earning money. These women borrowers also run the bank -- they are not only the majority shareholders, 9 out of 12 seats on the board are held by village women in saris.
But PM Hasina wants to end Grameen Bank as we know it. She first stripped Dr. Yunus' position as the bank's managing director, and now just passed a law that would allow the government to bypass the people-elected board and handpick his successor. And they fear that the government may use its newfound power to manipulate millions of members for votes in next year's election.
Grameen's downfall would be a disaster for Bangladesh and the larger microcredit movement that is working to improve lives across the globe. Sign the urgent petition to PM Hasina, and together, let's save the bank that's revolutionizing the war on poverty:
Avaaz members have come together time and time again to fight grave injustice and corruption. Over 2 million people rallied to pass the strongest anti-corruption law in Brazilian history, and half a million members successfully helped freeze Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak's stolen assets when he tried to flee Egypt. It's time for people power to shine in Bangladesh.... and win back the world's best bank.
With hope and determination,
Jamie, Kya, Caroline, Meredith, Emma, Ricken, Maria-Paz, and the rest of the Avaaz team
Women Hurting Women (New York Times)
George Shultz, Madeleine Albright Join Growing Groundswell of Concern over Possible Government Takeover of Grameen Bank (MoneyLife)
Bangladeshi Politics and the Grameen Bank's Uncertain Future (Council on Foreign Relations)
Microfinance Pioneer Grameen Bank Weakened by Bangladeshi Government Meddling (Huffington Post)
US reiterates concern for GB (The Financial Express)
An Attack on Grameen Bank, and the Cause of Women (Opinionator -- NY Times)