The following announcement was originally published on the Grameen Foundation website. Grameen Foundation and Freedom from Hunger are founding members of the Microfinance CEO Working Group.
By Steve Hollingworth and Kathleen Stack
Under the banner of Grameen Foundation, our mission is to enable the poor, especially women, to create a world without hunger and poverty.
This is more than mere words. It is an unflagging commitment to focus our resources and combined expertise on charting new paths out of poverty with programs that expand financial inclusion, enhance health, strengthen resilience and improve livelihoods for the world’s poorest people.
Through combining the programs, expertise and talent of Grameen Foundation and Freedom from Hunger we will further broaden and deepen our impact, and build a whole that is truly greater than the sum of its parts.
Both organizations have roots in the earliest movements for microfinance, and today conduct programs that tackle poverty and hunger from multiple directions.
As Grameen Foundation approaches its 20th year, we are a leader in digital innovation to end poverty. Our work in microfinance has enabled 23 million people to gain better access to microloans, savings accounts and other financial services, and our mobile agriculture tools and market-based solutions have benefitted 470,000 smallholder farmers in countries of Africa and Latin America.
Over its 70-year history, Freedom from Hunger has avidly implemented group-based approaches to combating hunger and poverty. It is widely known for its innovative work with village-based women’s groups, delivering integrated health and financial services that include health education, financing, micro-insurance, and linkages to health providers and products. Today these programs reach five million women.
Freedom from Hunger is equally well known for its development of educational and training materials that meet the needs of the poor, and its rigorous research into the drivers and solutions to poverty and hunger.
We believe there is a natural synergy between Grameen Foundation’s expertise in digital innovation to end poverty and Freedom from Hunger’s focus on providing the world’s poorest women with self-help tools. Combining such distinct yet complementary approaches opens new possibilities for effective solutions to poverty and hunger.
Our partners and supporters also recognize this potential.
Nobel Laureate Muhammad Yunus, founder of Grameen Bank in Bangladesh and a founding member of Grameen Foundation’s first Board of Directors enthusiastically endorses our integration under the banner of Grameen Foundation. So, too, does broadcaster Jane Pauley, a long-time supporter of Freedom from Hunger, and co-chair of its Ambassadors Council.
To better execute the integration, we have a newly reconstituted Board of Trustees that draws half of its membership from each organization. Our new Executive Staff includes members of each organization. As we continue to align over the coming months, we will bring together our core programs and develop new approaches made possible by our integration.
We are enormously grateful to our supporters: partners, funders and individual donors and volunteers who have believed in Grameen Foundation and Freedom from Hunger.
Your support has spawned legions of women entrepreneurs. It has enabled millions of people to embrace new opportunities, through access to financial services, agricultural training, financial literacy, nutrition education and more.
And we have just begun.
With deep passion for our mission, we look forward to advancing on this journey together.
Steve Hollingworth is President and CEO, Grameen Foundation. Kathleen Stack is Executive Vice President, Global Programs, Grameen Foundation, and former Interim President and CEO, Freedom from Hunger.