Grameen Foundation began working in the Philippines in 2000, just after the government launched a new strategy to build the country's microfinance sector. Initially, we provided direct funding and technical assistance to microfinance institutions, helping to strengthen their operations and expand services to poor communities across the country's main islands.
Though the Philippines has made tremendous strides in ensuring more people are financially included, more than a third of the country's 7,107 islands have no banking infrastructure, leaving almost half of Filipinos without formal financial services like savings accounts.
In addition, smallholder farmers in the Philippines, including coconut farmers who supply a one billion dollar industry, are highly vulnerable to natural disasters of increasing intensity. Without easy access to credit and insurance they have little means to recover and rebuild.
We work with partners to expand financial inclusion and build the resilience of smallholder farmers, including through programs that:
- Deliver holistic agricultural information, extreme weather alerts, and financial services solutions to coconut farmers, who lost 33 million trees to Typhoon Haiyan in 2013.
- Provide financial services to underserved communities on far-flung islands through neighborhood sari-sari (variety) stores.