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By coming up with a way to help Bangladeshi women earn money for themselves, Muhammad Yunus has placed microcredit and the Grameen Bank on the spotlight. The social entrepreneur earned praise for the microfinance innovation that has won the world over. Yet certain decisions have tarnished his good name and slighted microcredit. Will this negative campaign be enough to smear both?

He was an economics professor at Chittagong University when massive rainfall and floods overtook Bangladesh leaving its poor inhabitants without food or money for the rising cost of crops. The worsening poverty and high mortality the mass starvation caused had bothered him. So he went to nearby Jobra in search of a solution that could help the villagers.

On one occasion, Yunus lent a total of $27 as capital to female basket weavers at a very low interest rate. Their income successfully helped provide for their families and slowly paid off the debt. The Grameen project was, thus, born.  In time, Yunus established the Grameen Bank based on his vision of the right to credit to be “recognized as a fundamental human right”.

The 2006 Nobel Peace Prize was the highest recognition he received. However, he said that his conscience started bothering him again. This time, he decided to go into politics. Things started going downhill from there.

Although long out of the political arena, former allies in the government still view him as a threat and continue to discredit him and what he stands for. The latest move was his removal from his post as managing director of Grameen Bank for noncompliance. Politicians also discredited his work claiming microcredit isn’t an effective model.

Yunus continues to find support from other countries and their leaders. He doesn’t let the mudslinging affect his mission. And although microcredit still has a long way to go and isn’t the end-all solution to poverty, efforts are being made to improve on it. In the eyes of the rest of the world, his legacy will remain.

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