Reducing inequalities and promoting social justice

We will reduce inequalities and promote social justice, through, for example, the Grameen in the UK initiative based at the University, which brings the Grameen approach to microcredit to Glasgow to help local people establish social businesses, create jobs and alleviate inequality, poverty and welfare dependency.

Internationally, Grameen Caledonian Collegeof Nursing helps to raise healthcare education standards in Bangladesh and provides educational and career opportunities for young women.

GCU embeds responsible management, social responsibility and sustainability into all learning, teaching and research, a commitment that led GCU to become the first UK university member of the United Nations Global Compact. 

Grameen in the UK

Grameen in the UK, the micro-lending initiative facilitated by GCU, has celebrated its first year of trading and over 100 loans. It is the first such Grameen-style scheme in Western Europe. 

The Grameen lending system was created by GCU Chancellor and Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus. The Glasgow-based Grameen in the UK venture was established in June 2014.

Grameen in the UK offers small loans, initially of £1000, for up to 52 weeks to new start-ups and existing small businesses currently not served by any financial services, encouraging individuals’ economic and personal development and that of their family and community.

Grameen in the UK has now secured additional financial backing of £250,000 over next three years from the Whole Planet Foundation (part of Whole Foods Group) to fund new client loans. The Moffat Charitable Trust has also granted £45,000 to fund the operational costs of moving services into Ayrshire.

Ashoka U Changemaker Campus

The University’s influence and role in addressing 21st century issues through education, research and community initiatives is endorsed at home and at an international level.

GCU is Scotland’s first university Ashoka U Changemaker Campus in recognition of its leadership role in nurturing social innovation and enterprise skills. As one of only 30 Ashoka U Changemaker Campus institutions worldwide, GCU is a member of a network that includes Brown University, Cornell University and Johns Hopkins in the US.

Work is ongoing with the GCU Students’ Association and social entrepreneurs to offer placements within social ventures and to harness opportunities with Changemaker Campuses overseas. 

United Nations PRME champion

GCU embeds responsible management, social responsibility and sustainability into all learning, teaching and research, a commitment that led GCU to become the first UK university member of the United Nations Global Compact.

Developed in 2007, PRME is a United Nations (UN) Global Compact-backed initiative to promote and inspire responsible management education and research in academic institutions around the world. The global reach of the initiative now includes 500 leading business schools and academic institutions from over 80 countries.

GCU became a signatory to PRME in January 2012. The University’s participation, led by Glasgow School for Business and Society, demonstrates its commitment to ensure that the PRME principles are central to teaching, learning, and research across all disciplines.

GCU is a founding member of the UK & Ireland PRME Chapter, which was established in 2014, and now has 56 members. The Chapter’s remit is to work with higher education institutions and related bodies to support the integration of PRME in the UK and Ireland.

Grameen Caledonian College of Nursing

For its work in establishing the Grameen Caledonian College of Nursing in Bangladesh with the Grameen Healthcare Trust, GCU received the Unilever Global Development Award, supported by Business Fights Poverty, which recognises businesses which demonstrate positive impact against one or more of the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals - targets designed to promote development in areas such as promoting education, improving healthcare and reducing child poverty.

The seeds of GCCN were sown in 2009 when Professor Muhammad Yunus, now GCU’s Chancellor, and GCU’s Principal and Vice-Chancellor Professor Pamela Gillies CBE began discussing how to work together to develop healthcare provision in Bangladesh to an international standard.

A Nobel Laureate and founder of the Grameen Bank, Professor Yunus has helped transform the lives of millions of people through microlending to society’s poorest communities and was impressed by GCU’s hands-on track record of establishing healthcare programmes in developing countries across the world.

By early 2010, the College was welcoming its first 38 students. Today the college has 150 students and almost 40 members of staff and is contributing to the transformation of healthcare and the lives of young women across Bangladesh, where 87% of mothers give birth without professional medical support and just 23,000 registered nurses serve 156 million people - compared to the UK’s 680,000 registered nurses caring for a population of 60 million.

GCCN’s impact on healthcare and education was recognised in July 2014 at Business in the Community’s Responsible Business Awards, where GCU became the first university to win the prestigious Unilever Award for its work with Grameen to establish and support GCCN.

The work of GCCN has supported the ethos of the Unilever International Award to recognise and celebrate businesses that can demonstrate positive impact against the United Nations Millennium Development Goals: the College focuses on the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger; improving maternal health; promoting gender and empowering women; and reducing child mortality.

Since winning the Award, GCCN has welcomed students from GCU on study trips to share their skills in a range of disciplines with the Dhaka College’s students and in some of Bangladesh’s most remote clinics.