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The Agripath consortium, made up of the Centre for Development and Environment (CDE), Institute of Sociology (IoS) of the University of Bern, Grameen, GFI, International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe), and Farmbetter Ltd., aims to bring sustainable agriculture to scale by identifying, evaluating, and promoting promising pathways for digitally supported agricultural advisory services that effectively and efficiently empower female and male smallholders to make informed decisions and sustainably increase their agricultural productivity, income, and climate resilience through the uptake of sustainable farming practices. AgriPath will bring together and compare three types of digital advisory systems: Grameen’s agent-based facilitated model, farmbetter’s self-service model, and a hybrid with the agent as the main user of advanced app features and farmers using some features by themselves. In effect, the project will provide first-hand empirically grounded evidence to help mainstream the use of tailor-made DAS in extension services and private investments for the upscaling of sustainable agriculture in Africa and Asia. The project’s unique and innovative mix of research methods will contribute to a better understanding of farmers’ behaviour and household decision processes. Finally, it is a major contribution to the scientific debate on gendered, youth and community access to and use of DAS, technology adoption and long-term change of farming systems.
In support of Barry Callebaut’s (BC) Sustainable Coconuts initiative, Grameen launches the five-year Cooperatives Nuts for Coconuts (CN4C) project, which will enhance the overall sustainable supply of coconut oil (CNO) to BC’s partner mills by strengthening the capacity of agricultural cooperatives in the Davao region to effectively improve smallholder farmers’ copra production and income, and connect them to markets, while ensuring positive social and environmental impacts.
CN4C will leverage Grameen’s extensive experience improving the productivity, income, and resilience of Filipino coconut farmers, as well as its wide range of digital solutions and training content to comprehensively address the multiple barriers that cooperatives and farmers face. Grameen’s approach will capitalize on key enablers that will facilitate sustainable sourcing of CNO while improving 25,000 farmers’ livelihoods. CN4C will:
Wells Fargo joined forces with Grameen Foundation’s Bankers without Borders (BwB) program in 2014 to launch the Global Fellows program – an international volunteer program that lends employees’ professional expertise to social enterprises globally.
Through BwB, Wells Fargo’s Global Fellows have had the opportunity to volunteer their skills and expertise on projects supporting some of the world’s most promising microfinance and poverty-focused organizations. The Global Fellows have the opportunity to access and expand on their volunteer efforts and professional development opportunities through remote consulting opportunities. This allows the volunteers to use their skills to create long-term and lasting impact in addressing poverty, hunger and other social development issues.
In the last seven years (2014-21), Bankers without Borders was able to deploy the skills and expertise of 158 Global Fellows in support of 26 social enterprises across various regions of the world. With a total of 11,320 volunteer hours, the total value of the pro-bono contribution is estimated at USD 1,128,971.
In the Philippines, Grameen has found that liquidity challenges significantly constrain the ability of female microentrepreneurs to operate as part of the Community Agent Network (CAN), but that opportunities exist to iterate solutions in partnership with fintechs, microfinance institutions and others.
Grameen, IDEO and Celo will build on their combined experience and interests under a joint action research project that broadly seeks to understand how resolving liquidity management constraints of community agents can position them to be more successful entrepreneurs, and thus more viable (future or current) offerors of Valora or other cUSD products/services.
This 18-month project will unfold in three phases: In Phase I, the partners will complete research on the cost of liquidity management, barriers and current process. In Phase 2, Grameen will leverage the results of the research to define a solution prototype; the prototype will be used to build a minimum viable product (software) to demonstrate the feasibility of the solution. As much as possible, Grameen will leverage on existing partnerships of the Alliance for Prosperity that may have existing APIs and/or software relevant to the solution. In Phase 3, Grameen, together with our fintech partners, will select 100 women DFS agents and assist them in opening Valora wallets and use the software solution developed in Phase 2 to support their liquidity requirements. A portion of the grant will be used to make revolving cUSD microcredit loans to women agents, disbursed to their Valora wallets. Lastly, an assessment of the results and impact of the proof of concept will be completed with recommendations on modifications needed to replicate and scale the pilot in other locations.
The goal of the Phase Two of the Digital Inclusion via Education (DIVE) program is to drive sustained behavior change in adoption and usage of digital financial services among low income populations in India through scaling the “Grameen Mittras” community agent network. The program will reach an additional 500,000 people in Nagpur district of Maharashtra over 18 months. Grameen Foundation for Social Impact (GFSI) with support from Citi will leverage strong use cases for digital finance identified so far (balance enquiries, mobile recharge, cash withdrawals, bill payments etc) and combine digital financial literacy with convenient access to digital services. The Grameen Mittra approach employed in the project is designed for scalability, sustainability and effectiveness.
Grameen is working with Digipay (a mobile-based digital payments solution platform that offers bills payment, e-Load, e-PINs, Mobile Money and microinsurance) and Gloriosa (a financing company) to develop a revolving loan Fund. The Fund shall be utilized to make a loan to community agents, who are registered with Digipay, to finance their working capital, thus enabling them to grow their enterprises.
Grameen will conduct an action research project to strengthen the Business Correspondent (BC) model in India. The project aims to answer the following key questions on the profitability and sustainability of BC networks that can be integrated into the BC business model to make them more effective in driving financial inclusion amongst low income people, particularly women in rural India. The research will drive informed pilots with established Business Correspondent Network Managers (BCNMs) to test more cost effective and agile ways of establishing and on-boarding new BC Agents and also improve viability of individual agents by testing various approaches of diversifying and increasing revenue.
The overall goal of the Digital Knowledge Hub (DAK-Hub) is to identify and support the critical digital agriculture solutions both present and needed to help low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) achieve crucial agricultural development goals. The DAK-Hub will be essential for tracking and monitoring digital services and solutions for small-scale producers (SSPs) worldwide, and will result in the increased quality, availability, and utility of data and evidence as a driver for inclusive and sustainable agricultural transformation and investment in ag-tech. The DAK-Hub will be implemented by a partnership of Wageningen University and Research, GSMA, Grameen Foundation, and the Netherlands Platform for Inclusive Finance (NpM).
The EASIS project aims to develop an ICT-based extension and advisory service information system customized to the needs of the smallholder dairy buffalo farmers in the Philippines. Grameen will work with Philippine Carabao Center to design, test and rollout a breakthrough solution that will leverage the existing cohort and network of village-based knowledge brokers to act as an advisory pool, providing access to information and immediate response to address the concerns and challenges of farmers raising livestock, including but not limited to buffalo disease diagnosis and control, herd and breeding management, as well as product handling, processing and marketing. The project shall be implemented in three phases:
Phase 1: Identification of Scope of Work and Learning Modules Development
Phase 2: Mobile EAS App Solution Implementation and Testing
Phase 3: Farmer Profiling, Monitoring and Evaluation and Roll out of Mobile EAS App
For Phase 1, Grameen will be performing market research activities and employing a human-centered design process to produce five learning videos, prototype and test the mobile EASIS application, and conduct a readiness assessment for the next phase of the project.
With support from Ford Foundation, and in partnership with Grameen Foundation India (GFI) and Grameen Capital India (GCI), Grameen Foundation USA (GFUSA) is leading the eighteen month Women’s Economic Empowerment in India program (November 2019 - April 2021) to catalyze women’s financial inclusion and entrepreneurship opportunities in rural India. Grameen and its partners will first expand the Grameen Mittra social entrepreneurship model and second, advance the SDG Impact Bond model.
Under activity one, GFUSA and GFI will expand the Mittra network by onboarding 400 new female agents, who are anticipated to serve 200,000 rural end-clients in Nashik district in Maharashtra. The Mittra model incorporates: customer education, onboarding, and servicing; product and business case development with additional partners; and selection and specialized training of new female agents.
Under activity two, GFUSA and GCI will advance the innovative SDG Impact Bond model in order to accelerate economic and social outcomes for agriculture MSMEs and their beneficiaries throughout India. Specifically, GFUSA will provide a First Loss Default Guarantee (FLDG) of $213,942, which will function as a guarantee to those impact bond investors and funders who invest in the Agriculture Impact Bonds. $567,942 in funding from Ford Foundation will enable GFUSA to refine both models with the aim to further scale and replicate throughout India and in other country contexts.
Funding from Metlife Foundation will enable Grameen to support the families of the healthcare workers in India who lost their lives due to Covid-19, while serving the community at large during the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in three cities of India. Grameen will implement this program in partnership with its not for profit Indian subsidiary India Grameen Foundation for Social Impact (GFSI). The grant will be disbursed as emergency cash assistance to help these households in the cities of Delhi-NCR region, Nagpur (in Maharashtra) and Varanasi (in Uttar Pradesh). Over the next 12 months, this assistance will enable the affected households to meet their essential household consumption needs in the face of loss of the earning family member, loss of employment and livelihoods, thereby saving lives and preventing these affected households from falling into poverty trap. To document the stories of these families, Grameen will develop a coffee table/e-book, "Remembering COVID-19 Warriors".
In 2018, Grameen Foundation co-launched WAGE, a four-year, global program to advance the status of women and girls worldwide. It aims to support women’s economic empowerment; prevent gender-based violence; and advance women’s roles in peacebuilding, mediation, and reform processes. WAGE core partners also include the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI), the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), and Search for Common Ground.
Grameen Foundation is leading WAGE’s first strategic initiative, “Reducing Barriers to Women’s Economic Empowerment in Central America.” Working in El Salvador and Honduras, we are assessing the key barriers faced by women entrepreneurs, particularly in gaining access to finance. That assessment will guide the provision of technical assistance to local microfinance institutions that serve women (ODEF, CrediCampo, PADECOMSM). The initiative will also support the development of a loan matching fund administered by Kiva and address barriers posed by gender-based violence, conflict and insecurity, and social practices that inhibit women’s abilities to start up, finance and grow their businesses.
With funding from the U.S. Department of Labor, Grameen Foundation is implementing a multi-sectoral capacity building project to integrate the issues of child labor alleviation and acceptable conditions of work into WEE initiatives. In partnership with the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative, we are developing and deploying a new toolkit to better equip policy makers and service providers to educate women entrepreneurs and ensure women-led enterprises can improve livelihoods responsibly, and comply with laws protecting children and promoting acceptable conditions of work. After testing in two strategic locations, El Salvador and the Philippines, the tools will become available for broader distribution and global application.
Grameen developed the digital farm development plan (FDP), now called FarmGrow, for cacao farmers in Indonesia in collaboration with Mars and Rainforest Alliance. Grameen is now using the solution in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire under the Netherlands Space Office-funded Sat4Farming project. Through the FarmGrow mobile application, field officers of cocoa traders collect farm-level data that is analyzed using “smart logic” to allow for personalized FDPs that guide farming households to plan ahead and better manage cost and financing of their farming operations. Most importantly, the “business” plan provides a snapshot of the potential income (or loss) over the long-term that can be generated from following recommended practices.
Globally almost a billion people survive on less than $2 per day, living predominately in isolated rural and hard-to-reach locations. They have limited access to goods, services and information. A rapidly growing social enterprise sector is working hard to address the challenges this population faces. In an effort to accelerate the scale and impact of social enterprises, Grameen Foundation built TaroWorks, a field service management platform that helps these organizations do their work, particularly in remote or disconnected areas.
TaroWorks is collaborating with Cisco Systems to support the economic empowerment of the poor by enhancing the operational capacities of non-profits and social enterprises working to alleviate poverty in emerging markets worldwide. The current grant will allow TaroWorks to continue building its customer base.
The Transform Ag in UP program builds on a knowledge partnership developed by Gates with the Department of Agriculture, Government of Uttar Pradesh (GoUP) since 2018 for the purposes of driving inclusive agricultural transformation in the state of UP. (EY led this first phase called Phase I).
Phase II of the program seeks to transform the agricultural sector in select districts of UP by promoting a Food Systems approach to agriculture through nutrition-focused crop diversification, introducing innovative women-friendly and climate-smart technology and developing market linkages.
In the first year of Phase II (first12-month grant, for $1,500,000), GFUSA (as prime) and GFI and EY (as Technical Support Unit) will continue this important work while adding an additional focus on facilitating financial service linkages for the lighthouse FPOs. GFI represents Grameen in India on the project (since there are no direct budget lines for GFUSA). GFI is also specifically responsible for supporting outputs under Objective 3 about building the governance and management capacity of the lighthouse FPOs; enabling stronger market linkages; and resolving the FPOs' financing gaps through participation in various schemes.
In October 2021, BMGF awarded a supplement award to GFUSA to continue Phase II for two more years. This supplement award adds $3,499,220 to the project. This final phase (Phase 3) will focus more on formally integrating successful prototypes from phase 2 into the existing government mechanism for upscaling, in addition to deepening and expanding the testing of new prototypes. During this next phase of work, Grameen/GFI will lead, among other components, gender mainstreaming, which will provide an opportunity to conduct pro-WEAI research.
Grameen will deploy 64 American volunteers to the Philippines over a four-year period to build the capacity of coconut farmer groups, agribusinesses, extension providers and financial service providers. This assistance will be designed to increase the productivity, profitability and resilience of the Philippines’ coconut smallholder farmers. The specific objectives are to a) increase agricultural sector productivity and profitability and b) expand agricultural sector access to financial services while encouraging the application of technology and innovation as a cross-cutting theme. 16 hosts agencies will be selected to receive support from the volunteers.
WAGE is a global programming consortium composed of American Bar Association, Rule of Law Initiative; Grameen Foundation; Center for International Private Enterprise; and Search for Common Ground, along with 43 resource partners. WAGE develops and implements strategic initiatives, rapid response activities, and collaborative research within three core thematic areas: gender-based violence; women, peace & security; and women’s economic empowerment. Our goal is to strengthen the capacity of civil society in target countries to effectively advance the status of women and girls. Grameen Foundation is leading several current initiatives, including the Reducing Barriers to Women’s Economic Empowerment in Central America, and the Business and Social Support in Timor Leste program, and is jointly developing several more.
This implementation record is for Phase 2 of the project. The proposal builds on the existing initiative currently being implemented by the Women and Girls Empowered (WAGE) consortium in Sri Lanka, known as Strengthening the Role of Women Leaders in Promoting Peace and Reconciliation in Sri Lanka, and integrates a women’s economic empowerment (WEE) approach within the existing women, peace, and security (WPS) program, which includes gender-based violence (GBV) components. Grameen will implement specific and additional interventions to support WEE within the existing framework of the project. WEE activities will be implemented by the same local partners and within the existing structures of the project to ensure WEE activities are meaningfully integrated with WPS activities rather than implemented in parallel.
MANDI is a $1.65 million, 24-month initiative that aims to "Strengthen farmer producer organizations (FPO) capacity to connect smallholder farmers, especially women, to markets and finance, in order to improve farmers' incomes and resilience." Grameen/GFI will build the capacity of 40 FPOs in Uttar Pradesh, India to better support smallholder farmers (especially women) to diversify and intensify their agricultural production (such as planting vegetables during an additional cropping cycle) by using digital technology and data to connect them to sources of extension, markets and finance. The Grameen Mittras will be leveraged to support farmers’ access to digital payments; FPOs will also be assisted in linking farmers to additional financial products that improve household resilience to COVID-19 and other shocks. Thirdly, Grameen/GFI will also build capacity in gender mainstreaming to improve outreach, membership and leadership by women.
The Women Entrepreneurs in Northern Ghana Gain Access to Integrated Services through Agent Networks (WE GAIN) program is a new strategic initiative of the Women and Girls Empowered (WAGE) consortium led by Grameen with support from ABA ROLI. WE GAIN will build the capacity of three local CSOs (RISE Ghana, Ghana Development Community Association, and HealthKeepers Network) to deliver an integrated, market-based, high-impact package of financial and non-financial information, products, services, and referrals (Digital Financial Services plus (DFS+)) via existing CSO agent networks and MTN’s mobile money platform. Over the course of two years, WE GAIN will increase the sustainable access of women entrepreneurs in northern Ghana to a range of financial, health, GBV and other critical services they need to achieve personal and business growth and resilience.
Grameen Foundation was awarded the opportunity to work on the Women’s Employment and Economic Recovery Activity (WEERA), a three-year, $1 million initiative led by the American Bar Association, Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI). WEERA will address constraints to women’s meaningful participation in the economy (especially post-COVID 19) across three main focus areas: (1) restrictive legal and regulatory barriers; (2) lack of access to credit to start and grow businesses; and (3) harmful gender norms which limit women’s economic participation and normalize gender-based violence (GBV). Under the second focus area, Grameen will launch an Innovation Prize to provide financial and technical assistance to two or three financial service providers to pilot and/or expand financial products/services that meet the needs of women-led micro/small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), especially through the use of digital financial services (DFS). In line with Women's Global Development and Prosperity (W-GDPs) interest in private sector engagement, Grameen will focus on unlocking co-investment by commercial banks and mobile network operators like MTN through the Innovation Prize facility. Grameen will engage both a part-time Access to Finance Consultant and teams of Bankers without Borders volunteers to provide technical assistance and project monitoring support to Innovation Prize recipients.
With support from Ford Foundation, Grameenis leading the eighteen month Women’s Economic Empowerment in India program (November 2019 - April 2021) to catalyze women’s financial inclusion and entrepreneurship opportunities in rural India. Grameen and its partners will first expand the Grameen Mittra social entrepreneurship model and second, advance the SDG Impact Bond model.
Under activity one, Grameen and its partners will expand the Mittra network by onboarding 400 new female agents, who are anticipated to serve 200,000 rural end-clients in Nashik district in Maharashtra. The Mittra model incorporates: customer education, onboarding, and servicing; product and business case development with additional partners; and selection and specialized training of new female agents.
Under activity two, Grameen and its partners will advance the innovative SDG Impact Bond model in order to accelerate economic and social outcomes for agriculture MSMEs and their beneficiaries throughout India. Specifically, Grameen will provide a First Loss Default Guarantee (FLDG) which will function as a guarantee to those impact bond investors and funders who invest in the Agriculture Impact Bonds.
Through the Refugee Finance Program, Grameen is working to strengthen the digital financial ecosystem in refugee settlements in order to enable refugees, especially women and youth, to start and grow their businesses and livelihood activities by implementing a new and integrated service delivery model. This model incorporates linkages to formal financial services through unique digital savings group platforms, the design of appropriate financial products, mobile money agent network development, and digital financial and business development training. Grameen’s approach incorporates high-tech digital solutions developed through human-centered design and backed by a robust evidence base.
The Refugee Finance solution builds on Grameen’s core expertise in the following areas to ensure solutions are effective at reducing poverty among poor, rural households: