The guidelines Nobel Prize winners Muhammad Yunus and Grameen Bank use in determining whether a Grameen Bank member has escaped poverty are shown below, as referenced in Yunus' book Creating a World Without Poverty:
1. The bank member and her family live in a tin-roofed house or in a house worth at least 25,000 taka (roughly equivalent to $370). The family members sleep on cots or a bedstead rather than the floor.
2. The member and her family drink pure water from tube-wells, boiled water, or arsenic-free water purifiedby the use of alum, purifying tablets, or pitcher filters.
3. All of the member's children who are physically and mentally fit and above the age of six either attend or have finished primary school.
4. The member's minimum weekly loan repayment installment is 200 taka (around $3).
5. All family members use a hygienic and sanitary latrine.
6. All family members have sufficient clothing to meet daily needs, including winter clothes, blankets, and mosquito netting.
7. The family has additional sources of income, such as a vegetable garden or fruit-bearing trees, to fall back on in times of need.
8. The member maintains an average annual balance of 5,000 taka (around $75) in her savings account.
9. The member has the ability to feed her family three square meals a day throughout the year.
10. All family members are conscious about their health, can take immediate action for proper treatment, and can pay medical expenses in the event of illness.
I compared this list to my career mission to improve the lives of underserved populations through the sustainable distribution of products and services related to health, education and training, financial services, food, clothing, and shelter. They lined up as follows:
4. Financial Services
8. Financial Services
I am happy to see how well my career mission lines up with Yunus' poverty escape guidelines. It tells me that my focus is on the right track. Additionally, I'm humbled to recognize that although Yunus sets the bar very low for poverty escape, there are well over a billion people who would be unable to clear it...