Grameen Danone Foods Launched

The Grameen Group and Groupe Danone entered into a joint venture agreement effective from March 2006, to form a company called Grameen Danone Foods - a social business enterprise in Bangladesh. A unique initiative joining Danone, the world's leading company for healthy food products and Grameen Group, created by the founder of Grameen Bank, Professor Muhammad Yunus, Grameen Danone Foods will bring daily healthy nutrition to low income nutritionally deprived populations in Bangladesh and alleviate poverty through the implementation of a unique community based business model.

Grameen Danone will be highly committed to protect the environment of its communities developing solar energy and bio gas energies. It will also develop innovative and environmentally friendly packaging for its products.
The initial focus of Grameen Danone will be to launch an easily affordable dairy product to fulfill the nutritional needs of children in Bangladesh and contribute to their strong growth by bringing them the benefits of milk and micronutrients that they lack, including vitamins and minerals such as Iron, Zinc, and Calcium.
Professor Yunus and Groupe Danone Chairman Franck Riboud sign agreement as heads of Grameen Group companies and Emmanuel Faber of Danone, look on
In order to maximize the social impact, Grameen and Danone are developing low capital intensity manufacturing options and intend to reinvest the profits of Grameen Danone Foods beyond its cost of capital, in the expansion of this model throughout the country. A first factory will be built in Bogra, 230 kms north of Dhaka, and is expected to start operations by end 2006 with a plan of setting up 50 plants within the next 10 years. Several hundred livestock-farming and distribution jobs would be created in the local community as a result of this first implementation.

Professor Yunus, creator of the idea of a social business enterprise, commented "This represents a unique initiative in creating a social business enterprise, i.e. an enterprise not to maximize profit, but created with a declared mission to maximize benefits to the people served, without incurring losses. It is a small project to begin with, but contains the seed of a new breed of business which can change the economic world fundamentally. World famous Danone's participation in it, and Danone chairman Franck Riboud's presence in Dhaka, shows very clearly that this is not a fancy idea, but a serious business - business to make a difference in the world"

Franck Riboud, Chairman and CEO of Groupe Danone, commented: "I'm deeply convinced that our future relies on our ability to explore and invent new business models and new types of business corporations. This partnership with a company as iconic and visionary as the Grameen Bank, is for Danone a huge step in that direction and in better achieving our mission: to bring health through food to the largest number of people."
With around 16 billion USD of total sales in 2005, Groupe Danone is the world leader in fresh dairy products and bottled water and joint world leader in the biscuits market.

Grameen Bank, around which the companies making up the Grameen Group have been created, serves 5.8 million poor borrowers with microcredit. The Grameen Group consists of the following four Grameen enterprises (1) Grameen Byabosha Bikash (2) Grameen Kalyan (3) Grameen Shakti and (4) Grameen Telecom.

Grameen Trust Expands Outreach to Central America


Grameen Trust is set to begin implementing two Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) projects in Costa Rica and Guatemala this year. The projects, namely Costa Rica Grameen Credit Project and Guatemala Grameen Credit Project, are in collaboration with Whole Planet Foundation (WPF), the philanthropic arm of Whole Foods Market, the health food retail chain in the USA and Europe. WPF has pledged a total of more than US$ 2 million for two projects. Personnel from Grameen are already in place in each country, and are preparing the groundwork to begin implementing microcredit programs following the Grameen based approach. Each team has already begun surveying the project areas, forming groups, conducting training sessions, and holding regular meetings to disseminate the Grameen mode
of microcredit to the poor of Costa Rica and Guatemala. The microcredit organizations have been registered in both countries.

(from L to R) Deborah Morin, John Mackey (founder of Whole Foods Market), Monica Yunus, Professor Yunus, Philip Sansone (executive director of Whole Planet Foundation), and Professor Latifee in Austin for the Whole Planate Foundation (WPF) board meeting in March. WPF is supporting GT BOT projects in Costa Rica and Guatemala.

As soon as all preparatory work is complete, the projects hope to begin loan disbursement to the poor communities, expected to begin in April. Both Grameen teams have expressed great satisfaction with their locale and the people in the areas where they are working, and expect a positive response from the poorest. If the collaboration proves successful in these two countries, GT and WPF hope to extend its partnership further, to other countries in Latin America, Africa and Asia.

Some Past Honorees Give Their Picks for 2005


Sunday , Nov. 27,2005

Former Preident of the Philippines: she ousted Ferdinand Marcos I think someone like Muhammad Yunus, who founded the Grameen movement , should be TIME's Person of the Year for pioneering microfinancing for poor women, helping dramatically reduce poverty. Unlike men, women can be relied on to pay their debts on time.


Collected Essays and Stories from Grameen Dialogue Newsletter Issues 1-50

Volume I : Emerging Ideas, Concepts & Theories : While the practitioners went about with their experimentation, scaling up the pilot projects (Amanah Ikhtiar Malyasia and Share in India, are two great examples of pilot projects turning into successful big programs), donor representatives as well as numerous research critics, tried to articulate their own ideas about what microcredit was all about. They stated unequivocally what it has accomplished and what it could not. David Hulme for example very early tried to come to some conclusions regarding "transferrability of institutional innovations". More specifically, replicability of Grameen Bank experience in other countries was debated extensively. But many seemed to share the idea of David Gibbons, that "essential features" of Grameencredit could be quickly incorporated and activated in other social milieux. Gian Sahota wrote a seminal article on "Microcredit and Economic Theory" in the 42nd issue of the newsletter. Others have developed the relevance of the concept of "social capital" and "empowerment of the most disadvantaged, particularly the women" --- ideas that fired the imagination of people, young and old, who desired passionately to develop a coherent ideology of social and economic justice as Marxism faded on all fronts in the 90s, following the collapse of the Soviet Union. The advocates of Grameencredit got a shot in their arm when Shahid Khandker and his team sponsored by the World Bank, published their major research on the sustainability of Grameen Bank. This was based on an extensive empirical research work undertaken in 62 villages of Bangladesh. It was another landmark in terms of pure academic research and its summary was published in two parts in the 19th and 20th issues of <<Grameen Dialogue>>. Editor : Khalid Shams. Published by : Grameen Trust. US$10.

Volume II : The Replication Experience : This is the substantive, the most significant part of the story. It provides an empirical response to the technical issues often raised by academics, donors as well as the practitioners themselves. Is Grameen really doable elsewhere? Is Grameencredit, that uses a model developed in distant Bangladesh, a densely populated, impoverished country and so different from others, really replicable globally? How is it done? The empirical evidence is now on the ground and one can have a glimpse of more than one hundred replications in various countries. <<Grameen Dialogue>> has documented some of the more interesting stories, narrated by those who implemented the pilot projects. Most of these have gradually emerged from their embryonic form and the initial pilot stage, not through any big intervention from Grameen Bank, but from the ideas, commitments and lot of hard work by social entrepreneurs themselves in their own countries. Editor : Khalid Shams. Published by : Grameen Trust. US$10.

Annual Report 2004, Grameen Trust, 2005, US$10.


Training on Grameen Bank II


Grameen Trust offers consultancy services to those organizations that work for setting up and implementing poverty focused microfinance programs in any country of the world. It also offers its services to directly implement microfinance programs in difficult situations and areas.

Organizations interested in receiving consultancy or other technical services from Grameen Trust, please contact for details:


Managing Director
Grameen Trust
Grameen Bank Bhaban
Mirpur-2, Dhaka 1216, Bangladesh
Phone/Fax: 880-2-8016319


Consultancy Services from Grameen Trust


Grameen Trust offers consultancy services to those organizations that work for setting up and implementing poverty focused microfinance programs in any country of the world. It also offers its services to directly implement microfinance programs in difficult situations and areas.

Organizations interested in receiving consultancy or other technical services from Grameen Trust, please contact for details:

Managing Director
Grameen Trust
Grameen Bank Bhaban
Dhaka 1216, Bangladesh
Phone/Fax: 880-2-8016319

Grameen Trust Programs for 2006
Dialogue, Workshop and Training
Grameen Trust in collaboration with Grameen Bank and the Grameen network partners will organize the following Grameen International Dialogue Programs, International Training and Workshops, for microcredit practitioners worldwide during 2006. Interested organizations or individuals who wish to participate are requested to write to Grameen Trust, Grameen Bank Bhaban, Mirpur-2, Dhaka- 1216, Bangladesh; Fax & Telephone: 880-2-8016319; E-mail:, or
Grameen International Dialogue Program Date Country
50 th Dialogue May 27-Jun. 7, 2006 Bangladesh
51st Dialogue Nov. 25-Dec. 6, 2006 Bangladesh
Grameen International Training Program Date


Grameen Basics August 15-18, 2006


Grameen Basics September 5-8, 2006 Costa Rica
Grameen International Workshop Program Date


Grameen Generalized System April 2006


Microfinance Conference 2nd Quarter 2006


Internal auditing June 24-27, 2006 Indonesia
 Editor : Muhammad Yunus
Executive Editor : Khalid Shams 
Editorial Assistance :
Lamiya Morshed 
Editorial Advisory Board: Argentina : Pablo Broder, Buenos Aires     Australia : Shan Ali, Sydney     Chile : Benardo Javalquinto, Santiago     Colombia : Mauricio Fernandez, Bogota     France : Maria Nowak, Paris     Germany : Nancy Wimmer, Munich     Malaysia : David S. Gibbons, Kuala Lumpur     Philippines : Dr. Cecilia D. Del Castillo, Bacolod City     USA : Alexander Counts, Washington DC
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