Interview from Mexico
Lenka studied at the University of Economics in Prague, the specialization National economy. The theme of her thesis was the economic development of China. She has been working in finance for international companies both in Czech republic and abroad. During her studies she was living in Great Britain, travelled mostly in Europe. Later she focused on Spanish speaking part of the world, spent 6 months in Chile and currently is living in Spain.
Before I left for my 3 weeks internship in cooperative in Mexican state Oaxaca, I had noticed that the internship coordinator had checked my profil on professional social network LinkedIn. That means that 1) they do prepare for my arrival, 2) their knowledge of social networking won’t be bad. Despite of the fact that the cooperative is located, and its employees live, in the village of San Pablo Huixtepec - agricultural and one of the poorest region in Mexico.
- “The philosophy of IHP (which is the abbreviation of cooperative name meaning Tireless to progress) is to be the driving force to boost the locality”, says Luis, the cooperative employee.
- The working team of three is well-balanced. Luis is innovator, Nelba racional and Armando fast at numbers. Luis and Nelba, spouses and colleagues, are involved in IHP a lot. Their work and family life diffuse into each other, moreover Nelba manages her own candy shop. As many others in San Pablo she has more than one job.
The biggest loan we assigned during my three weeks stay was of 200,000 Mexican pesos (around 300,000 Czech crowns) for enlargement of stationary - family enterprise with nearly 30 years of history. In San Pablo there is a big demand for loans, for example the local cheese factory which produces traditional cheese from Oaxaca “quesillo” would use the loan to extend its production, local taxi drivers to buy new taxis, farmers to buy seeds and livestock, but what is missing is money. Neither earnings from own enterprises nor money sent from relatives living in USA are sufficient. Since 2008 due to the economical crises many Mexicans in USA have lost their jobs and stopped sending money to their families in Mexico or even returned back home.
Yunus left Grameen
Muhammad Yunus was removed from the Grameen microfinance bank which he founded. The central bank sacked him saying he was past retirement age and had been improperly installed in his post. Prof Yunus pioneered micro-lending to the poor but has been under pressure from the government to step down. Prof Yunus fell out with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in 2007 when he was trying to set up a new party. The government owns a 25% stake in Grameen, which pioneered the microfinance concept of lending small amounts of money to the poor which has been replicated worldwide. Our correspondent says that the dispute over Prof Yunus' sacking is now likely to end up being resolved by the courts.
Visit of MBA students from US
In December 2011 we were visited by two courses of MBA students from U.S. Northwest and Saginaw Valley Universities.