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best of 2009 please help sam daley-harris place this op-ed (queries chris.macrae @yahoo.co.uk)
A Champion of Yes We Can
Mr. DURBIN (for himself, Mr. BENNETT, Mr. KERRY, Mr. CASEY, Ms. SNOWE, Mrs. MURRAY, Mr. WHITEHOUSE, Ms. MURKOWSKI, Mr. BINGAMAN, Mr. FEINGOLD, Mr. ENZI, and Mr. PRYOR) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs
To award a congressional gold medal to Dr. Muhammad Yunus, in recognition of his contributions to the fight against global poverty.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. FINDINGS.
The Congress finds that--
(1) Dr. Muhammad Yunus is recognized in the United States and throughout the world as a leading figure in the fight against poverty and the effort to promote economic and social change;
(2) Muhammad Yunus is the recognized developer of the concept of microcredit, and Grameen Bank, which he founded, has created a model of lending that has been emulated across the globe;
(3) Muhammad Yunus launched this global movement to create economic and social development from below, beginning in 1976, with a loan of $27 from his own pocket to 42 crafts persons in a small village in Bangladesh;
(4) Muhammad Yunus has demonstrated the life-changing potential of extending very small loans (at competitive interest rates) to the very poor and the economic feasibility of microcredit and other microfinance and microenterprise practices and services;
(5) Dr. Yunus's work has had a particularly strong impact on improving the economic prospects of women, and on their families, as over 95 percent of microcredit borrowers are women;
(6) Dr. Yunus has pioneered a movement with the potential to assist a significant number of the more than 1,400,000,000 people, mostly women and children, who live on less than $1.25 a day, and the 2,600,000,000 people who live on less than $2 a day, and which has already reached 155,000,000, by one estimate;
(7) there are now an estimated 24,000,000 microenterprises in the United States accounting for approximately 18 percent of private (nonfarm) employment and 87 percent of all business in the United States, and the Small Business Administration has made over $318,000,000 in microloans to entrepreneurs since 1992;
(8) Dr. Yunus, along with the Grameen Bank, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 for his efforts to promote economic and social opportunity and out of recognition that lasting peace cannot be achieved unless large population groups find the means, such as microcredit, to break out of poverty; and
(9) the microcredit ideas developed and put into practice by Muhammad Yunus, along with other bold initiatives, can make a historical breakthrough in the fight against poverty.
Excerpt of Sam Daley-Harris’ Opening Ceremony Remarks from the Latin America-Caribbean Summit
June 17, 2009
Last week Sam Daley-Harris opened the Latin America-Caribbean Regional Microcredit Summit in Cartagena, Colombia. He shared the stage with, among others, Professor Muhammad Yunus and Colombia President Alvaro Uribe. Below is an excerpt of his remarks:
"...And I ask
you to challenge yourselves to take your accomplishments to the next level-to build microfinance institutions that are at
the cutting edge-that use microfinance to end poverty in your country, your region, and around the world.
Thirty senators have signed on to a letter to World Bank President Robert Zoellick urging him to ensure that the Bank invests more in microfinance and, most important, ensures that at least half of all microfinance resources benefit the very poor. The letter was initiated by Senators Robert Bennett (R-UT), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Michael Enzi (R-WY), and Sherrod Brown (D-OH). The 30 signers include the leading Democratic presidential candidates Senators Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and Barack Obama (D-IL)and the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Richard Lugar (R-IN).
“Microfinance has the power to transform the lives of the poorest people in our world by providing them access to small loans to start individual businesses, a safe place to save, and peer support,” the letter states. “Microfinance gives borrowers, especially women, the capacity to improve the quality of their lives and the futures of their children.”
Although the Bank has previously acknowledged the effectiveness of microfinance, it devotes very little of its annual budget to microfinance institutions (MFIs). It is also very difficult to track funds allocated to microfinance. Some estimates have suggested that the Bank spends as little as one percent on microfinance.
The thirty senators — or nearly one-third of the Senate — who signed the letter included 11 Republicans, 20 Democrats and one Independent, demonstrating the enormous bipartisan support for this issue. The letter was supported by RESULTS Educational Fund, a national grassroots education and advocacy organization that works to expand support for microfinance and other poverty reduction priorities around the world. A similar letter also was circulated in the House, and garnered 43 signers. Last October, 29 members of Congress met with World Bank President Zoellick to discuss this issue. Zoellick promised to hold further discussions, but no follow-up meeting has yet been scheduled. Representatives Rush Holt (D-NJ) and John Carter (R-TX) are leading the House effort.
The Senate and House letters urge the World Bank to take four specific steps to ensure that more microfinance funding reaches the very poor: 1) double its investment in microfinance to at least two percent of its program spending; 2) ensure that at least 50 percent of those funds reach clients who are in the bottom half of those living below their nation’s poverty line); 3) implement cost-effective poverty measurement tools to ensure compliance; and 4) report annually on the results.
"The range of Senate signers is quite impressive," said RESULTS founder and Microcredit Summit DirectorSam Daley-Harris. "Signers include the two conservative senators from Utah, Mr. Bennett and Mr. Hatch; the two liberal senators from California, Ms. Feinstein and Ms. Boxer; the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Mr. Lugar; and the two Democratic Party presidential candidates Ms. Clinton and Mr. Obama. The bipartisan support for this is issue is something the World Bank President cannot ignore."
The final signers of the letter in the Senate include: Bennett (R-UT), Durbin (D-IL), Enzi (R-WY), Brown (D-OH), Murkowski (R-AK), Lieberman (I-CT), Cardin (D-MD), Bayh (D-IN), Murray (D-WA), Boxer (D-CA), Stabenow (D-MI), Hatch (R-UT), Lugar (R-IN), Chambliss (R-GA), Levin (D-MI), Coleman (R-MN), Nelson (D-FL), Casey (D-PA), Mikulski (D-MD), Klobuchar (D-MN), Inhofe (R-OK), Isakson (R-GA), Obama (D-IL), Clinton (D-NY), Schumer (D-NY), Feinstein (D-CA), Burr (R-NC), McCaskill (D-MO), Martinez (R-FL), Cantwell (D-WA).
In the House, the final signers are: Holt (D-NJ), Carter (R-TX), Moran (D-VA), Hastings (D-FL), James McGovern (D-MA), Matheson (D-UT), Steve Cohen (D-TN), Baldwin (D-WI), Honda (D-CA), Bordallo (D-GU), Gonzalez (D-TX), Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Rohrabacher (R-CA), Inslee (D-WA), McDermott (D-WA), Rothman (D-NJ), Harman (D-CA), Waxman (D-CA), Capps (D-CA), Payne (D-NJ), Walberg (R-MI), Conyers (D-MI), Sullivan (R-OK), Kildee (D-MI), Wilson (R-NM), McCotter (R-MI), Berkley (D-NV), Dicks (D-WA), Doggett (D-TX), Inglis (R-SC), Murphy (D-PA), Davis (D-CA), Farr (D-CA), Shuler (D-NC), Souder (R-IN), Filner (D-CA), Larsen (D-WA), Conaway (R-TX), Udall (D-CO), Lewis (D-GA), Waters (D-CA), Smith (D-WA), Saxton (R-NJ), Sires (D-NJ), Ellison (D-MN), Reichert (D-WA).
RESULTS is committed to educating the public, the media, and leaders about issues related to poverty and hunger in the United States and abroad. We hold public forums, train citizens in democracy, hold media conference calls to share the latest information, and produce quality oversight research to determine the effectiveness of programs for the poor.
++ special mentions
Senator Michael Enzi of Wyoming has proven himself an ally of several RESULTS campaigns, especially expanding microfinance services to the very poor. In October 2007, Senator Enzi was one of the few senators who attended a congressional World Bank meeting with World Bank President Robert Zoellick. In December 2007, along with three other senators, Enzi co-authored a letter to President Zoellick pressing him to direct more funding to microfinance for the world’s poorest. In a further demonstration of his advocacy of microfinance, Senator Enzi is a cosponsor of a bill to award a Congressional Gold Medal to Muhammad Yunus.
Senator Enzi is the ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. Senator Enzi led the Senate in its efforts to help ensure that everyone, no matter their age, can receive a quality education. He has worked to help provide Americans access to affordable, quality health care while protecting workers and providing them training to get the best jobs. The senator has helped oversee the biggest revisison to pension laws in 30 years to strengthen funding rules to secure the retirements of millions of Americans. Enzi’s committee also led the way to making the first revision to mine safety laws in 28 years by promoting the use of new technologies to improve mine safety and save lives.
Senator Enzi helped author the reauthorization of the Workforce Investment Act, which creates a streamlined job training and employment system vital to employers and workers. He formed the Rural Education Caucus and strives to ensure the unique challenges small population schools face are not overlooked in federal education legislation. He was one of only two congressional representatives to the U.N. General Assembly in the 108th Congress. He has authored innovative legislation that would reinvent our medical justice system.
Senator Enzi is the Senate’s only accountant by profession and he serves with distinction on the Senate Banking Committee. It does not bear his name, but there is a large part of Enzi in the Sarbanes-Oxley bill, bipartisan legislation that continues to have a greater impact on corporate behavior and financial reporting than any legislation of the recent past. There are provisions in the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act authored by the senator regarding financial literacy and identity theft that will have a profound positive effect on many Americans.
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