Bad press and research put microfinance under new scrutiny

June 17, 2011

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(Getty Images/Spencer Platt)
Microfinance pioneer Muhammad Yunus was stripped of his position at Grameen Bank.

The appellate division of the Bangladesh Supreme Court last month agreed that the nation’s central bank was justified in firing Nobel Peace Prize laureate Muhammad Yunus from his post as managing director of Grameen Bank, the institution he founded more than three decades ago. The controversy once again brought to light the heated debate over the effectiveness of microfinance programs.

Travis Rejman is founding executive director of the Goldin Institute, a global forum dedicated to supporting grassroots partnerships for global change in poverty alleviation, environmental sustainability, gender empowerment and conflict resolution.

Susan Beaudry is with Grantmakers Without Borders, a philanthropic network dedicated to increased funding for international social justice, environmental sustainability and improving international grantmaking. Susan collaborated with the Goldin Institute on a project to help donors sort through the facts and spin called “Microfinance: A Guide for Grantmakers.”

They join us to discuss the truths and myths of microfinancing.