Grameen Foundation Helping Indonesians to Recover Five Years After Devastating Tsunami

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Five years after a devastating tsunami swept through Indonesia, more than 16,000 women in Banda Aceh, the region closest to the tsunami's epicenter, have built new lives for their families with support from Grameen Foundation.

December 21, 2009 - Working in collaboration with Mitra Dhuafa, a local microfinance institution, the foundation has provided more than $2.2 million in funding to help Achenese women and their families recover from the tragedy by building new, sustainable businesses.

Recognizing that long-term recovery required more than immediate aid funding, Grameen Foundation forged an alliance with the Abdul Latif Jameel Group, a leading international company based in Saudi Arabia, and began working with local organizations within several months of the tsunami to assess their needs.

"The scale of the devastation and suffering was overwhelming, but we knew that microfinance had a crucial role to play in the long-term economic recovery of the families and communities," said Alex Counts, president of Grameen Foundation. "Our goal was to help give the people of Banda Aceh access to the financial resources they would need to reignite their lives and the local economy."

Before the tsunami, there was little microfinance activity in Banda Aceh, which remains one of Indonesia's poorest regions. Using seed funding from Grameen Foundation, Mitra Dhuafa opened its first branch in Aceh province in September 2005 and has now provided loans to more than 16,000 women through its nine branches. In addition, the foundation has been providing technical assistance to help Mitra Dhuafa strengthen its local staff and overall operations so that it can grow and reach even more women in far-flung areas.

"Banda Aceh has made great strides since the tsunami, especially in more central areas which were the easiest to reach in the aftermath. However, there are pockets in more remote areas which still need attention and we are committed to ensuring that its poorest and most vulnerable residents have the resources they need to better safeguard their families' futures," said Counts.
Grameen Foundation's long term work  has been supported largely through grants from the American Red Cross. It launched its tsunami recovery assessment and initiative with major funding from the Abdul Latif Jameel Group and received additional support from Nokia and the Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation.

For more information, please see www.grameenfoundation.org/tsunami

Editors' Note: Experts are available for interviews in Washington, D.C. and Hong Kong. Video, photos and additional information are also available upon request.

About Grameen Foundation
Grameen Foundation, a global nonprofit organization, helps the world's poorest people access financial services and technology solutions by providing financing, technology support and management strategies to the local organizations that serve them. It also spearheads technology initiatives that create new microbusiness opportunities for the poor, provide telecommunications access for the world's rural poor, and improve their access to health and agriculture information and other services. It works with the Abdul Latif Jameel Group to promote microfinance in the Arab World through Grameen-Jameel Microfinance, Ltd. Founded in 1997, Grameen Foundation has offices in Washington, D.C., Seattle, Washington, Hong Kong, Ghana and the Philippines. Dr. Muhammad Yunus, the founder of Grameen Bank and the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, is a founding member of its board of directors, and now serves as director emeritus. For more information, please visit www.grameenfoundation.org.

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