Nobel Laureate Muhammad Yunus Helps Local Activists Launch 2008 Campaign Against Global Poverty
Nobel Peace Prize winner and microfinance pioneer to dialogue with local and national RESULTS grassroots volunteers on conference call
Washington, DC (January 8, 2008) — 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus will speak with volunteers of RESULTS and RESULTS Educational Fund (REF), a nationwide grassroots advocacy organization dedicated to fighting hunger and poverty worldwide and here at home, on the first of the organization’s monthly national grassroots conference calls of the year, this Saturday, January 12. Joining together volunteer activists in over 50 cities from Alaska to Florida, the conference call will formally launch RESULTS’ global anti-poverty campaign issues for 2008.
Professor Yunus, founder of the Grameen Bank of Bangladesh — which now reaches over 7 million very poor borrowers in that country, mostly women, with very small loans to start individual businesses — is in the U.S. to promote his new book, Creating a World Without Poverty. Yunus has served on the board of RESULTS and RESULTS Educational Fund for nearly two decades. He will speak with RESULTS volunteers on the power of citizens to bring about positive change in the world.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for our grassroots volunteers and community members from around the country to have a chance to talk with one of the world’s leading advocates on strategies for ending severe poverty,” said RESULTS/REF Associate Executive Director Joanne Carter. “RESULTS is working with Professor Yunus in a campaign to, in his words, ‘Put poverty in the museums.’”
RESULTS volunteers across the country meet with their elected leaders, local media, and community members to raise awareness and advocate for issues pertaining to poverty and social justice both within the U.S. and abroad. Microcredit, the practice of making small loans to very poor people so they can start businesses and raise themselves out of poverty, is one of the key issues on which RESULTS and its volunteers will be focusing this year. Specifically, volunteers are asking their legislators to apply pressure on institutions like the World Bank to increase investment in microcredit programs for the very poor, and also to ensure expanded funding and full implementation of U.S. legislation that requires at least half of U.S. international micorenterprise funding to benefit the poorest (including the use of poverty measurement tools to track that this is happening). Microcredit programs benefit an estimated 133 million of the world’s poorest families, according to a recent report from the Microcredit Summit Campaign. Currently, the World Bank devotes less than one percent of program spending to microcredit programs and is not tracking what portion of those resources benefit the poorest – those living on less than a dollar a day.
RESULTS will continue to address other pressing global poverty issues, advocating for additional resources and demanding oversight to ensure funds reach the countries and people most in need. Major campaign themes include:
- increasing support for fighting tuberculosis, a major consequence and cause of poverty;
- expanding effective child health programs worldwide;
- helping ensure access to basic education for all children in developing countries;
- urging the International Monetary Fund to relax spending limits on desperately poor countries so they can hire more teachers and health workers.
RESULTS major U.S. anti-poverty campaigns in 2008 will include the continuation of a multi-year Health Care for All campaign, strengthening food aid for hungry Americans in final negotiations over the Farm Bill, and instituting fair tax policies for those trying to work their way out of poverty.
The conference call will take place Saturday, January 12.