Meet Melisa, Grameen Community Agent in the Philippines

Advancing the digital revolution is not a desk job.

  Bago Oshiro, Philippines
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Melisa, a Grameen Community Agent in Bago Oshiro, Philippines, connects her clients to the Digital Farming tools they need to work their way out of poverty. Getting to them, however, is another story. A story of devotion.

“In my case, I don’t have a motorcycle, so I need to commute to go to an area. Then after I arrive, there are farmers who are difficult to deal with, so I explain to them what the project is about, so they’ll participate and cooperate,” said Melisa. “And then there are times when the weather is bad. Sometimes it rains so hard I get wet, then after that I get sick.”

Melisa helping customer

But the results, said Melisa, make it all worthwhile. And, though she already works with approximately 200 smallholder farm clients, Melisa is driven to register more Filipino coconut fartmers with the Grameen Digital Farming platform that links farmers to geo-targeted individual farm plans and financial advice and turns their basic mobile phones into an early warning system that saves crops and livelihoods. The platform has an application that speeds up the registration process.
Melisa, Community Agent explains

For every new client, Melisa visits their farm and interviews the farmer about his or her farm and family, collecting baseline data on environmental conditions and key vulnerabilities. That data, combined with satellite data, helps Melisa and her farm families develop an individualized Farm Development Plan to increase their yields and to protect their crops from climate-sensitive diseases and pests. As threats are detected, the farmers are texted warnings and advice on their cell phones.

agent and client looking at tablet

Though she initially found her job as a Community Agent challenging, Melisa understood the need. Sixty percent of smallholder coconut farmers in the Philippines live in poverty. Their farm holdings and agricultural practices have been passed down through generations and convincing them to try new techniques to their increase productivity requires time, trust and patience. Learn more about our Digital Farming initiative in the Philippines. Watch video

It was difficult for me… that’s why it wasn’t until now that I realized I’m happy. When I saw [the program’s] effect on the farmers, I said, ‘Oh, it’s a good project because it helps the farmers.’ So instead of thinking about the difficulties, you think about the benefits it gives the farmers. I’m thankful that I saw the results and impact on the farmers; that it gives something good to them.  
— -Melisa, Grameen Community Agent
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Real reasons for real optimism.

Grameen Community Agents connect poor people to the tools and information they need to lift themselves out of poverty. Permanently.

Diagram Grameen Community Agents connecting the poor to Mobile Money and Digital Farming tools Diagram of how Grameen Community Agents connect the poor to Mobile Money and Digital Farming tools
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