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Funding Area: Poverty Alleviation

Grameen Foundation helps the world’s poorest people reach their full potential, connecting their determination and skills with the resources they need. We provide access to essential financial services and information on agriculture and health, assistance that can have wide-scale impact by addressing the specific needs of poor households and communities. We also develop tools to improve the effectiveness of poverty-focused organizations.

Our Involvement: Charles Tomberg has voluntered for The Grameen Foundation. In addition, The Philip and Helen Brecher Charitable Fund, Charles Tomberg and Gail Tomberg have financially supported this organization.

Projects We Support

Grameen Foundation Education Scholarship Program
The Grameen Foundation Educational Scholarship program seeks to leverage microfinance as a platform for poverty alleviation by providing scholarships to borrowers’ children.

Support Dates: February, 2007 – Ongoing

The Mifos Initiative delivers an open source information management system for the global microfinance industry via a collaborative development and support community.

Support Dates: February, 2007 – December, 2008

Village Energy Project
Funding for exploratory research around alternative energy in village settings.

Support Dates: December, 2008 – March, 20111

Social Performance Management Center
Help support their Social Performance Management Center (SPMC) and their efforts to scale Progress Out of Poverty Index (ppI)TM usage throughout Latin America.

Support Dates: March, 2011 – March, 2012

Improving the Use of the Progress Out of Poverty Index (PPI) in the Philippines
Help support the Social Performance Management Center’s activities to improve the use of the Progress out of Poverty Index (PPI) in the Philippines.

Support Dates: March, 2013 – March, 2014

Building a ‘Last Mile’ Shared Agent Network to Enhance Financial Capability

Grameen Foundation seeks to work with local partner institutions, including Microventures Mtd. (“Hapinoy1”), to develop a shared, last mile agent network in the Philippines. The grant will allow Grameen Foundation to develop a simple and cost-effective way to 1) assess agent performance and behavior, 2) evaluate the incentive system and profitability of the agent network, and 3) identify ways to improve network agent management and system interfaces. Equipped with a mobile-enabled interoperable payments platform, agent training and management model, and scalable business plan, Hapinoy’s sari2-sari store franchises will transform into a shared agent network that extends financial inclusion to the Philippines’ rural poor.

Support Dates: March, 2015 – March, 2017

The Bidi Bidi refugee camp, in northwestern Uganda, is the largest refugee settlement in the country, and the second-largest refugee camp in the world, hosting 220,000 refugees who have fled the devastation and humanitarian crisis of the protracted civil war in South Sudan. In contrast to long-established refugee settlements elsewhere in the country, the inhabitants of Bidi Bidi are newcomers: all of them have arrived since the 2016 “July Crisis” in South Sudan.

Because of the long-term stability, favorable policy and social environment, and freedom of movement in Uganda, the majority of refugees in more established camps are either already engaging in small businesses or would like to start one (a recent World Bank study cited that 72 percent of refugees are operating some sort of micro or agri-business.) But at Bidi Bidi, the relationships and arrangements among people that create an active economy have not had time to develop, and economic activity remains low. These refugees arrived with literally just the clothes on their back and the few assets they could carry, and are to a greater extent than most refugees in Uganda, still struggling to establish themselves and supplement the limited support NGOs and the UN can provide.

However, there is a potential game-changer: mobile phones and mobile money are widely available, and they hold enormous potential for generating economic activity. Grameen Foundation is working with GSMA (the association of mobile network operators) to develop ways to increase financial inclusion among the refugees. In my visit to Bidi Bidi to consider how mobile money could help kick start the camp economy activity, I found many possibilities.

In 2022-2023, we are very excited to share that, should we meet our fundraising goals, we will expand to additional refugee settlements both in Northern Uganda and beyond.

2023 – 2024 Grant Cycle

To date, we have seen amazing success with this project, and have plans to expand further in 2023 – 2025.

Support Dates:  March, 2021 – – March, 2024

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