Albina du Boisrouvray, founder of the FXB Foundation, has a Muhammad Yunus story.
When the countess, global philanthropist and social entrepreneur began to think about the shape her philanthropic contributions should take, most people advised her to go with the flow and deliver microcredit.
“The trend … was, give a small business through microcredit … I said no, I’m not going to give microcredit,” du Boisrouvray told Devex. “What about the rights of the children, access to what they need? How about raising them? How about leaving the place?”
Du Boisrouvray, in consultation with communities, settled on an integrated approach to development, which seeks to tackle multiple drivers of poverty at the same time. Her ideas have not always been popular with the development community she’s sought to work within — and she’s sought counsel from some of the leading figures in that community — including Yunus, the Nobel-prize winning father of microfinance.
She met with Yunus and told him about the skepticism she encounters from development leaders who see her as an outsider with naive plans to buck tradition and do things her own way. She told Yunus about her work and said that if he told her to stop doing what she was doing and to focus instead on delivering microcredit to small businesses, she would do that.
According to du Boisrouvray he listened to her descriptions of the FXBVillage methodology and told her: keep doing what you’re doing.
Michael Igoe is a senior correspondent for Devex. Based in Washington, D.C., he covers U.S. foreign aid and emerging trends in international development and humanitarian policy. Michael draws on his experience as both a journalist and international development practitioner in Central Asia to develop stories from an insider's perspective.
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