Grant to Grameen Foundation Supports Software Infrastructure for MFIs
November 28, 2006
By Jenny Carless, News@Cisco
The Cisco Systems Foundation recently awarded a grant towards completion of a software project that will enable microfinance institutions (MFIs) worldwide to run their operations more effectively and efficiently. In an effort unrelated to the MicroVest investment, the foundation made a grant of US$300,000 to Grameen Foundation, USA to help the organization finalize version 1.0 of its Microfinance Open Source (MiFOS) project, a software platform for MFIs to manage their clients, portfolio and reporting needs.
"The Grameen Foundation is one of the best-known and most respected foundations in the microfinance arena," says Mike Yutrzenka, executive director of the Cisco Systems Foundation. (In fact, the Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2006 to Grameen Bank of Bangladesh and its founder, Professor Muhammad Yunus, for their efforts to create economic and social development from below.)
The Grameen Foundation uses microfinance and innovative technology to fight global poverty and bring opportunities to the world's poorest people. The MiFOS initiative's goal is to combat the inefficiency and high cost of doing business that plague MFIs around the world.
"People can change their own lives, provided they have the right kind of institutional support," Yunus explained upon learning of his prize. "They're not asking for charity, charity is no solution to poverty."
"One of the areas Cisco Systems Foundation is beginning to focus on is social investment," explains Peter Tavernise, senior program officer at the foundation. "And this US$300,000 to the Grameen Foundation was made within the bounds of that new issue area - where we're really trying to build the capacities of communities to become self-sufficient through social investment."
Jenny Carless is a freelance writer based in Santa Cruz, CA.