We create breakthrough solutions that leverage digital technology and partner networks to bring people access to integrated financial, agricultural and health services that help overcome the root causes of poverty. These solutions not only provide information and services, but they enable the poor to be self-sustaining. They build community, confidence and capacity.
For example: we’ve designed an agricultural loan for poor smallholder farmers in Kenya. Unlike other loans, its flexible repayment terms correspond to farmers’ harvest cycles and cash flows, and funds are disbursed directly into farmers’ mobile money accounts and additional features also make Kilimo Booster especially convenient to women. Along with the loans, farmers receive agricultural training to maximize the possibility of success.
In Rajasthan, India, we work with local partners and very poor rural women to train them in nutrition and farming techniques, to connect them to health services, and to connect them to financial services and training. In addition, we’ve provided a framework for “gender dialogues,” that the women use to speak with their husbands about how to improve their family’s food security. As a result, in less than two years the food security of 30,000 women and their children more than doubled. We reach the women through their local “self-help groups (of which there are millions in India). The groups are a friendly environment in which women who often don’t have a voice in their families or communities learn to speak out, build skills and gain confidence. We are now exploring how to digitize the training program to benefit even more women and families.
In the Philippines, we’ve put together a network of partners and developed digital tools that provide coconut farmers with an Emergency alert service for extreme weather and pest outbreaks, training to certify for organic markets, and training in basic financial management. Farmers are diversifying their crops, averting pest outbreaks, and learning how to cope with erratic weather, including droughts and typhoons.
In Indonesia, we’ve worked with Mars to digitize individualized farm management plans (FMP) for small-scale cacao growers. These growers source much of the world’s chocolate, but their farms are poor, the soil infertile, trees old, and yields falling. The FMPs evaluate the state of individual farms, and develop 7-year plans to improve farmers’ productivity and sustainability, charting out step by step the actions needed and associated costs, giving options and educating farmers about their choices.
How we approach our work:
To reach the poor, especially women, we work through local groups and partner organizations. Local groups may be women’s savings and self-help groups, microfinance organizations, community health organizations, farmers cooperatives and more. The group provides a platform to educate, train and deliver services to the people who need them most. Although our products and services typically make use of digital technology, they may take other forms (such as analog or pictorial) and are designed to meet the specific needs of a region, literacy level, and any other context that may affect their effectiveness.
We chose the best institutional partners to create robust, sustainable solutions. These partners may include financial service providers, health providers, agribusinesses, government agencies, NGOs, technology companies and more. We chose partners who are in for the long haul and who have their own networks of field agents. Then we “train the trainer” – equipping those field agents with the new tools and knowledge, so that they can work closely with local communities groups. The field agents carry out the education, training, and delivery of services to those living in hunger and poverty, and carry on the work after Grameen Foundation's role in a project concludes.
Creating sustainable solutions often also involves the development of new business models, and change at an institutional level. We help develop those models and facilitate their implementation.
Together, these innovations, tools and life skills delivered through our breakthrough solutions open opportunities and empower poor people to chart new paths to prosperity and health.
Partners chose to work with us because of our collaborative, client-centered approach; digital expertise; research-based understanding of the problems of poverty; and deep cross-sectoral knowledge.
For more on what we do, and why we do it, see our Bedrock Truth Statement.
We have three major audiences:
CURRENT DONORS: US-based, average age around 60-65 (full range is 18-92). Evenly split female and male, college-educated, middle/upper-mid class.
PROSPECTIVE DONORS: “Engaged” public (US-based, skews female, 25-65, mid-career / rising professionals). Grameen Foundation social media followers (some donors, many not) are “shutterbugs”, travelers, tv/movie-lovers, news junkies, social media enthusiasts, business- professionals, and technophiles.
For both of the above audiences, we provide them the ability to have 1) impact in changing the world (appeal to their idealism); 2) identification with a cutting edge movement (“I didn’t give to CARE, I gave to Grameen”); 3) purposeful use of technology; 4) Hand-up vs. hand-out; 5) Identification with and pride in the poor woman who is empowered by their support; 6) a market-based, business-like solution to poverty. Many of our new donors want experiences: engagement and opportunities to go beyond the check-writing.
INSTITUTIONAL PARTNERS AND FUNDERS: Corporations and Corporate Foundations (financial services, agriculture and health sectors; Bilateral organizations (i.e. USAID, DFID etc); Multilateral organizations (i.e. World Bank, UN agencies etc); large Foundations