On behalf of the people (some divergence between Patrick and

Xxxx Xxxxx Xxxxxx xxxxxxxx at xxxxxxxxxxx.xxx
Wed Jan 24 16:38:49 MST 2001

> >Would like to know more about this G. bank in India. I would appreciate if
> >Xxxx Xxxxxx could furnish some more data.
> >Ulhas Joglekar

Correction  I mixed Grameen in Bangladesh with SEWA in India. G is a totally
"men run microcreadit institution" whereas SEWA is Self Employed Women's
Association. SEWA is a union of women working in low paying jobs as cheap
laborers. Inspired by Ghandian philosophy, it emphasizes a coalition of three
different movements: the labor movement, cooperatives and women's movement. The
main mission of the union is to improve the economic situation of women in
informal sector. In India, the problem facing self employed women is that they
do not  receive recognition from the authorities who view them as unproductive
laborers. What I learnt from a Turkish friend studying the Indian  informal
sector that because of the British colonial law still in existenc,e women
vendors selling goods in public are committing an offense. They are frequently
harassed by the authorities who confiscate their property and subject them to
physical violence. By organizing women vendors into "advocacy" groups, SEWA
pressured the Indian Supreme Court to declare that it was the city's duty to
secure a place for women vendors to seel their goods in public.

Actually,  inspired by SEWA, South African women trade unionists and activists
with women vendors formed  SEWU (Self Employed Women's Union) in South
Africa.SEWU started because the interests of women vendors (and street vendors
in general ) were not quite  represented within the traditional trade unions.
SEWU helps women gain recognition for the work they do and provides them with
other facilities such as  health, credit, child care, legal advise...

The same friend was telling me that " 90 percent of Indian economy is based on
informal sector" (may be you have better statistics on that). Women are mostly
employed in low wage, less secure jobs and in the  informal sector.  "Even in
the informal sector they are crowded in the low-income, low-skilled jobs. The
example I gave is only one of many activities SEWA undertakes. SEWA is a
people's movement, a woman's movement with labor activism at its roots. It
works with over 2.5 million women in Gujarat, India in the last 25 years.  I
know that SEWA is considered a stronghold of the Indian left.  It has been very
instrumental in unionizing people for piece rates, rights with local
municipalities, social security, health care, etc. These people were considered
unorganizable (vendors, hawkers, homeworkers). You might want to look at the
www.sewa.org website"

Regarding G,  it is a bank lending micro-credits to rural poor (and women)  at
very low interest rates. It is not a union. It is a capitalist enterprise and
has institutional ties with the World Bank and the IMF.  Here is the info on


***Grameen Bank

Grameen Bank (GB) has reversed conventional banking practice by removing
 the need for collateral and created a banking system based on mutual trust,
 accountability, participation and creativity. GB provides credit to the
poorest of
 the poor in rural Bangladesh, without any collateral. At GB, credit is a cost
 effective weapon to fight poverty and it serves as a catalyst in the over all
 development of socio-economic conditions of the poor who have been kept
 outside the banking orbit on the ground that they are poor and hence not
 bankable. Professor Muhammad Yunus, the founder of "Grameen Bank" and
 its Managing Director, reasoned that if financial resources can be made
 available to the poor people on terms and conditions that are appropriate and
 reasonable, "these millions of small people with their millions of small
 can add up to create the biggest development wonder."

 Currently, GB is the largest rural finance institution in the country. It has
  than 2.3 million borrowers, 94 percent of whom are women. With 1,128
branches, GB provides services in 38,951 villages, covering more than half of
the total villages in Bangladesh. The repayment of its loans, which average US
$ 160, is over 95%.

 Grameen Bank's positive impact on its poor and formerly poor borrowers has
been documented in many independent studies carried out by external agencies
including the World Bank, the International Food Research Policy Institute
(IFPRI) and the Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS).

 Grameen Bank has inspired people and institutions throughout the world with
success in poverty alleviation. More than 4,000 people from some 100 countries
have gone through Grameen's training / exposure programs over the last ten
years. Some of those visitors have returned to their countries and  replicated
the Grameen Bank financial system to help the poor people in their own country
to overcome poverty. A total of 223 Grameen replication programs in 58
countries have been established during the last decade. Taken  together, they
have reached several hundred thousand poor borrowers with credit around the
Xxxx Xxxxx Xxxxxx
Ph.D Student
Department of Political Science
SUNY at Albany
Nelson A. Rockefeller College
135 Western Ave.; Milne 102
Albany, NY 12222

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