2004–2009 Tsunami Initiative

In 2004 an earthquake in the Indian Ocean created a tsunami, killing more than 225,000 people and devastating entire communities in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India and Thailand. While organizations such as the American Red Cross provided valuable disaster relief services, Grameen Foundation and other microfinance-related organizations convened to determine strategies for long-term economic recovery.

With funding from the American Red Cross, Grameen Foundation supported Indonesia’s poor, partnering with microfinance institution Mitra Dhuafa (now KOMIDA) for nearly four successful years in the tsunami-devastated region of Aceh, Indonesia. Together, we are rebuilt communities and created new opportunities for the poor.

Expanding Access to Microfinance

Grameen Foundation worked with Mitra Dhuafa to expand financial services to more poor women throughout the Aceh province. Mitra Dhuafa opened six new branch offices in the four most devastated districts in the Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam (NAD) province, giving more than 17,500 tsunami-affected women access to much-needed financial services.

Empowering Poor Women through Local Organizations

We worked with Mitra Dhuafa to improve efficiency, streamline financial management, strengthen field operations, manage human resources to allow Mitra Dhuafa to continue to strengthen and grow, and reach thousands more poor women.

Establishing National Standards to Measure Progress

Our Progress out of Poverty Index® for Indonesia allows microfinance institutions to determine the poverty level of their clients and track their movement out of poverty. Grameen Foundation is developing strategic partnerships with local organizations and networks to make the tool more widely available and utilized, thus maximizing our impact in Indonesia.

Presentations from Grameen Foundation's May 2005 Tsunami Conference

Within days of the 2004 Tsunami, the Abdul Latif Jameel Group provided a grant to Grameen Foundation to determine if microfinance could play a role in the relief and recovery efforts. The culmination of this study was a conference held in New York City in late May 2005, where the findings of this multi-country research were presented. At this gathering, leaders from organizations with experience in post-disaster and post-conflict microfinance presented their experiences. Three of the most informative Power Point presentations from that conference can be accessed below.

Shortly after this conference, the Jameel Group committed $1 million to implement the recommendations of the study, and in time other donors -- including Deutsche Bank, Nokia, the American Red Cross and hundreds of others -- provided resources to back the strategy announced at the May 2005 conference. Elsewhere in this section of the website you can read about the results of that work.

Reports on Post-Tsunami Activities