Salim Khan Archives

Grameen’s famous Village Phone Program lifted thousands out of poverty– and helped Muhammad Yunus win the Nobel Peace Prize. The problem: It’s not working anymore. According to Grameen Telecom, the GrameenPhone affiliate that manages the program, profits per operator have been declining for years and in 2006 averaged less than $70. “The program is not dead,” says its manager, Mazharul Hannan, chief of technical services at Grameen Telecom, “but it is no longer a way out of poverty.” The reason is simple: Technology and GrameenPhone itself have made the village phone obsolete.