No, it didn't go to Bono and DATA again this year...but this year's winner is worthy of praise: Bangladeshi banker and economist Dr. Muhammad Yunus and his Grameen Bank, which offers tiny loans to the poorest to help them become self-employed, were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday. Dr. Yunus is credited as one of the founders of the concept of "microcredit" - an idea that has revolutionized wealth creation in Developing nations.
From wikipedia: Yunus first got involved in fighting poverty during a 1974 famine in Bangladesh. He discovered that very small loans could make a disproportionate difference to a poor person. His first loan consisted of US$27 from his own pocket, which he lent to women in a poor village who made bamboo furniture. They had to take out usurious loans in order to buy bamboo and were unable to make enough profits to adequately provide for their families.
In 1976, Yunus founded the Grameen Bank (Grameen means "of rural area", "of village") to make loans to poor Bangladeshis. The Grameen Bank has issued more than US$ 5.1 billion to 5.3 million borrowers. To ensure repayment, the bank uses a system of "solidarity groups". These small informal groups apply together for loans and its members act as co-guarantors of repayment and support one another's efforts at economic self-advancement. As it has grown, the Grameen Bank has also developed other systems of alternate credit that serve the poor. In addition to microcredit, it offers housing loans as well as financing for fisheries and irrigation projects, venture capital, textiles, and other activities, along with other banking services such as savings.
The success of the Grameen model has inspired similar efforts throughout the developing world and even in industrialized nations, including the United States. The Grameen model of micro financing has been emulated in 23 countries. Many, but not all, microcredit projects also retain its emphasis on lending specifically to women. More than 96% of Grameen loans have gone to women, who suffer disproportionately from poverty and who are more likely than men to devote their earnings to their families.
Congratulations Dr. Yunus for your work on behalf of the poor and for your creative and innovative leadership. As for Bono...keep up the good work, mate, and let the chips fall where they may!