Muhammad Yunus, the Bangladeshi Nobel peace prize winner in 2006 and a prominent activist for female economic emancipation known widely as the banker of the poor, spoke to EFE about his new book “A World of Three Zeros: ,” where he makes a case for protecting the planet for the sake of humanity and highlights the urgent need to take a different approach in order to combat climate change.
In a tour that has taken Yunus to Barcelona, Valencia and Madrid working with Tandem Social, a non-profit consultancy company that supports projects that boost social, economic, environmental, cultural and educational transformation, the writer and activist has delivered conferences and shared his views on how the entrepreneurial capacity of women and female economic emancipation is instrumental in order to achieve a more sustainable society, EFE reported Sunday.
How does your business strategy guarantee equality when it comes to salaries and responsibilities?
“We don’t look only at the wages. Women should be entrepreneurs to achieve incomes with their own projects, rather than working for someone. I try to emphasize that human beings have not been born to work for someone. By nature and birth, we are entrepreneurs, for this reason, we focus on this model that allows women to run their business from home, Technology nowadays makes life easier, more convenient and more fun than going to a factory.”
Describe the work of women at the Yunus Social Business and how is the adaptation and adjustment at the workplace?
“We focus on the women and on the seven principles of Social Business, it's important to emphasize the gender conscience. We make sure not to fall into the trap of a traditional economic model, where men ascend and women are relegated. We make sure that women are in the right position with a proper attention and that they are in control.”
Is there a strategic plan to expand the project of Grameen Shakti as a pioneer business in renewable energy?
“This is what we came to talk about, and that is what I mentioned in the book, explaining the model of (Social Business) that can be achieved in the case of environmental degradations. The way to change the environmental situation by taking on renewable energy. We don't do it alone, however, we invite people to implement this model as we are not interested in monopoly. We intend to support those who are interested in applying solar energy projects to create a circular economy."
Is climate change a challenge?
“Of course, it's a great challenge, since we have very short time left. We have to reach the (Millennium Goals of the United Nations) goals by 2040 and achieve a decrease of 1.5C in the temperature of the planet and stop the warming. So we have only 22 years left. We have to do it today before tomorrow.”
Would you be the same person, would you think the same way if you had not been born in Bangladesh?
“Probably, if I had not been born in Bangladesh, I would not have done it in the same way, it could have been something else, I would have supported those who lack financial help, or maybe I would be busy helping the migrants, or perhaps I would be myself.”
What do you think of Islamophobia and xenophobia?
“Islam does not want to bring hatred or division with anyone, Islam exists to promote peace among all religions, on the contrary, is to get away from the normal, those are deviations from the main principles of Islam which means peace.”
How do you see the situation of the Rohingya who escaped from Burma?
“It is so bad, Myanmar has no intention of getting them back. Moreover, millions have been pushed out due to genocides where families have been killed, children have been slaughtered and many women have been raped. We should put tremendous political and diplomatic pressure on Burma. Actually, it's a big problem for Bangladesh as millions of people suddenly arrived. With 170 million Bangladeshis extra people are not easy to integrate and they will cause a chaos. They shouldn't take away their nationalities and expel them out.”
What do you think of the #Metoo movement which was founded to help the victims of sexual violence?
“It is good to reveal things that people are thinking about. We don't have to live with that all our lives, we can share it and thus clarify it, they cannot keep it and suppress it.”
The territorial disputes in places in some regions in Brazil have seen an escalation of violence against indigenous people. How can they be protected?
“Indigenous people are not different from other people, since we call them indigenous we are separating them, we are breeding distances and tension between communities. We should give them opportunities like others, being indigenous does not mean that you lack creativity and intelligence like any other person, but they never have the same opportunities as others.”
What about war victims?
"There should be no wars, they always come with excuses, wars destroy lives, kill people, children, and families fall apart. Social Business tries to provide sustainable conditions and opportunities for these people to continue with their lives."
By Basma Dali