Wednesday, October 21, 2009

USAID and Grameen Foundation in $162.5m Microfinance Collaboration

On Monday, USAID and the Grameen Foundation launched a 12 year program under the USAID’s Development Credit Authority that would provide additional capital and support to microfinance institutions.  The Grameen Foundation will pool and manage the credit risks of microfinance institutions, helping to insulate them from foreign exchange risk.  USAID and the foundation will also issue joint guarantees.  The Grameen Foundation was formed in 1997 to support microfinance banks.  Muhammad Yunus, the father of microfinance who founded the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, serves as the foundation’s director emeritus.

Gates Foundation Supports Unconventional Public Health Research

On Tuesday, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation announced 76 new grants of $100,000 a piece for research on innovative solutions to global health problems.  The unusual grantees include a UCLA student trying to make a gum that detects biomarkers in saliva for signs of malaria and another researcher looking to treat malaria with chocolate.  Other grantees are exploring ways to increase the effectiveness of treatments,  vaccines, and tests for tuberculosis, HIV, pneumonia, malaria, and diarrhea.

Social Innovation Fund to Publish Guidelines by End of Year

The Corporation for National Community Service intends to issue final guidelines on grants by the Social Innovation Fund.  The first grants are expected to be awarded by summer for next year.  The Social Innovation Fund was established by the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, though it has not yet received funding through Congress.