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Two and a half billion people worldwide, most of them desperately poor villagers, need a better way to save and to borrow. Even the most innovative banking institutions can’t reach them; savings groups can. In savings groups, members save what they can in a communal pot and loan their growing fund to each other for their short-term needs. Jeffrey Ashe and Kyla Neilan illustrate how these savings groups form and function and how little “outside” support is actually required for their success. Drawing on decades of Ashe’s personal experience, this book describes how he developed Saving for Change, which leveraged the wisdom and strength of group members to train and establish new groups. This model has impacted the lives of 680,000 people across five countries. Savings groups are a “catalytic innovation” that bypasses subsidies, dependency, and high costs while effectively reducing chronic hunger, building assets, and empowering the community. Today, saving groups have 9 million members around the globe—with minimal support, membership could grow to ten times this number.
Savings Groups reach those rarely served by mainstream financial institutions.Maximum transparency, a profitable structure for saving, access to small loans and an annual lump sum of capital are the hallmarks of the savings group methodology. The outcome: empowered groups, made up mostly of women, who manage themselves as tiny financial institutions. Today there are savings groups in 60 countries with more than 6 million members, the result of initiatives carried out by dozens of international and local NGOs. What are the costs, required inputs, and anticipated outreach of these groups? How does replication take place? How sustainable are the groups? Is it feasible to integrate financial and non-financial services? Are linkages to the formal system desirable? What is the impact of groups on members and their households? How can performance be managed? This book addresses issues, not from the perspective of the financial institution, but in support of group members and savers who are managing their own financial services.This book is essential reading for all those concerned with extending financial services to the poor.
A Chicago Tribune music critic and cohost of Sound Opinions evaluates the role of the Internet in revolutionizing the music industry, offering insight into how the development of digital technology has changed the ways in which fans acquire music and how the industry has responded to copyright infringements. Reprint.
Revolutionizing Motherhood examines one of the most astonishing human rights movements of recent years. During the Argentine junta's Dirty War against subversives, as tens of thousands were abducted, tortured, and disappeared, a group of women forged the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo and changed Argentine politics forever. The Mothers began in the 1970s as an informal group of working-class housewives making the rounds of prisons and military barracks in search of their disappeared children. As they realized that both state and church officials were conspiring to withhold information, they started to protest, claiming the administrative center of Argentina the Plaza de Mayo for their center stage. In this volume, Marguerite G. Bouvard traces the history of the Mothers and examines how they have transformed maternity from a passive, domestic role to one of public strength. Bouvard also gives a detailed history of contemporary Argentina, including the military's debacle in the Falklands, the fall of the junta, and the efforts of subsequent governments to reach an accord with the Mothers. Finally, she examines their current agenda and their continuing struggle to bring the murderers of their children to justice.
The story of two brilliant nineteenth-century scientists who discovered the electromagnetic field, laying the groundwork for the amazing technological and theoretical breakthroughs of the twentieth century Two of the boldest and most creative scientists of all time were Michael Faraday (1791-1867) and James Clerk Maxwell (1831-1879). This is the story of how these two men - separated in age by forty years - discovered the existence of the electromagnetic field and devised a radically new theory which overturned the strictly mechanical view of the world that had prevailed since Newton's time. The authors, veteran science writers with special expertise in physics and engineering, have created a lively narrative that interweaves rich biographical detail from each man's life with clear explanations of their scientific accomplishments. Faraday was an autodidact, who overcame class prejudice and a lack of mathematical training to become renowned for his acute powers of experimental observation, technological skills, and prodigious scientific imagination. James Clerk Maxwell was highly regarded as one of the most brilliant mathematical physicists of the age. He made an enormous number of advances in his own right. But when he translated Faraday's ideas into mathematical language, thus creating field theory, this unified framework of electricity, magnetism and light became the basis for much of later, 20th-century physics. Faraday's and Maxwell's collaborative efforts gave rise to many of the technological innovations we take for granted today - from electric power generation to television, and much more. Told with panache, warmth, and clarity, this captivating story of their greatest work - in which each played an equal part - and their inspiring lives will bring new appreciation to these giants of science.
Muhammad Yunus is that rare thing: a bona fide visionary. His dream is the total eradication of poverty from the world. In 1983, against the advice of banking and government officials, Yunus established Grameen, a bank devoted to providing the poorest of Bangladesh with minuscule loans. Grameen Bank, based on the belief that credit is a basic human right, not the privilege of a fortunate few, now provides over 2.5 billion dollars of micro-loans to more than two million families in rural Bangladesh. Ninety-four percent of Yunus's clients are women, and repayment rates are near 100 percent. Around the world, micro-lending programs inspired by Grameen are blossoming, with more than three hundred programs established in the United States alone. Banker to the Poor is Muhammad Yunus's memoir of how he decided to change his life in order to help the world's poor. In it he traces the intellectual and spiritual journey that led him to fundamentally rethink the economic relationship between rich and poor, and the challenges he and his colleagues faced in founding Grameen. He also provides wise, hopeful guidance for anyone who would like to join him in "putting homelessness and destitution in a museum so that one day our children will visit it and ask how we could have allowed such a terrible thing to go on for so long." The definitive history of micro-credit direct from the man that conceived of it, Banker to the Poor is necessary and inspirational reading for anyone interested in economics, public policy, philanthropy, social history, and business. Muhammad Yunus was born in Bangladesh and earned his Ph.D. in economics in the United States at Vanderbilt University, where he was deeply influenced by the civil rights movement. He still lives in Bangladesh, and travels widely around the world on behalf of Grameen Bank and the concept of micro-credit.
Right now the number of people living on $2 a day or less is more than the entire population of the world in 1950. These 2.7 billion people are not just the world’s greatest challenge—they represent an extraordinary market opportunity. By learning how to serve them ethically and effectively, businesses can earn handsome profits while helping to solve one of the world’s most intractable problems. The key is what Paul Polak and Mal Warwick call Zero-Based Design: starting from scratch to create innovative products and services tailored for the very poor, armed with a thorough understanding of what they really want and need and driven by what they call “the ruthless pursuit of affordability.”Polak has been doing this work for years, and Warwick has extensive experience in both business and philanthropy. Together, they show how their design principles and vision can enable unapologetic capitalists to supply the very poor with clean drinking water, electricity, irrigation, housing, education, healthcare, and other necessities at a fraction of the usual cost and at profit margins attractive to investors. Promising governmental and philanthropic efforts to end poverty have not reached scale because they lack the incentives of the market to attract massive resources. This book opens an extraordinary opportunity for nimble entrepreneurs, investors, and corporate executives that will result not only in vibrant, growing businesses but also a better life for the world’s poorest people.

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