The Grameen Bank model boast the motto: “Bank for the Poor.” It was initially started by Professor Mohammad Yunus who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 for his work. He began the practice of microcredit loans for those without the credit for traditional loans.
The model is based on collective responsibility because they give loans to groups but only allow one or two of the members in the group to take out a loan at a time with the rest becoming eligible as the loans are repaid.
I found this article on Yunus and controversy over whether the Grameen Bank model could maintain its independence interesting.
Since 2008, Grameen has used mobile technology such as apps and the Ghana Mobile Technology for Community Health initiative. MOTECH has helped improve accessibility to maternal and neonatal health care information by developing interactive apps used by both patients and the nurses. There is a Mobile Midwife Application that gives mothers and their families medical alerts regarding their pregnancy and childcare and gives the medical caregivers an easy way to track a patients’ care. Grameen published an updated report on the progress of MOTECH in 2012.
The initial project was funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation but has recently expanded. The expansion of this program is going to be funded by organizations such as USAID, the Government of Norway, Grand Challenges Canada, and the World Bank (in addition to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation).
In Kenya, Grameen has focused less on maternal health and more on agriculture and finance. Aside from their banking services, they also offer farmers updates on caring for crops post-harvest and connecting them with the financial markets to sell their products. This is called the e-Warehouse initiative.
Kiva is an organization I am familiar with. Similar to the Grameen model of micro financing, Kiva offers micro credit to projects and entrepreneurs. The sorting button wasn’t working so I am not sure all of the African countries that they operate in but I scrolled through the list and found Rwanda, Kenya and Uganda as a few Sub-Saharan Countries they have projects currently in.
TED Talk by Andrew Mwenda, http://www.ted.com/talks/andrew_mwenda_takes_a_new_look_at_africa?language=en
TED Talk by Simon Anholt, http://www.ted.com/talks/simon_anholt_which_country_does_the_most_good_for_the_world?language=en
Dead Aid, by Dambisa Moyo
The End of Poverty by Jeffrey Sachs