I almost miss the village after spending the last few days at the Grameen Head Office. Almost. While we had a few interesting meetings, the International Department is somewhat disorganized, and most of our time was spent waiting around. You definitely learn the most about Grameen out in the field. Now, I’m thinking it may be a challenge to learn as much as I’d like about the social business side of Grameen. I’m going to work with another trainee on coming up with a specific curriculum, which will hopefully help us make the most of the experience.
On the plus side, yesterday we finally got the opportunity to meet Professor Yunus. It was mostly just a photo session, but I was impressed by his patience. While he was, perhaps, too busy to have a sit down conversation with us (and he is an extraordinarily busy person), he did wait to take a photo with each one of the interns (and a group of 17 Japanese students – who had a total of 38 cameras).
Then today, we visited some of the Grameen sister companies: Grameen Shikka, which provides subsidized vocational training; Grameen Shakti, which sells solar panels, biogas, and improved cooking stoves; and Grameen Kaylan, which operates affordable healthcare clinics in the villages. Grameen is like the Google of development – spreading its good intentions into every sector of social service. Actually, they were all very interesting, and deserving of an individual post.