With financial services at the hub, our programs deliver vital information, education and resources that enhance health, improve agriculture, and strengthen livelihoods of the poor.
Our deep expertise and distinct approach to adult education serves a range of audiences from non-literate women, to health workers, to farmers, to supervisory staff. Our digital solutions connect people to practical information and training when it’s needed.
Some programs connect financial services and agriculture, leveraging technology to reach the underserved. Others link adult-education, microfinance and the provision of health services, with a particular focus on non-literate rural women and their households.
Although women in underserved rural areas are major contributors to agriculture and household food security, their own food, nutritional and health needs--and those of their children--often go unmet. Access to finance at crucial times can meet those needs, and holistic programs that integrate financial, agricultural and health solutions, while also addressing gender issues, can initiate transformational change.
Self-managed savings groups reach some of the world’s poorest and most remote women. Through these groups, we deliver financial, education, and health protection services. Our Saving for Change program provides group members with a structure for safe saving and a platform for learning how to protect and grow their money and their health.
Saving group members deposit small sums—often starting with weekly deposits of only 20 cents—and build lump sums for predictable needs. The groups also hold regular learning sessions on practical health, finance, and agricultural topics such as how to increase savings or prevent malaria. The dialogue-based education does not require that women know how to read or write, and learning together strengthens and helps sustain the group.
The women act as their own bankers, approving small loans to each other as savings accumulate. The interest they charge each other for the loans goes back into the pool of savings, yielding a return for each group member.
Over time, the funds grow and allow members to meet larger financial needs such as healthcare, education, small business start-up and expansion, agriculture and the purchase of food during the hungry season.
Saving for Change is a legacy program of Freedom from Hunger, now part of Grameen Foundation. It was developed with Oxfam America and the Strømme Foundation of Norway.
Building Resilience in Burkina Faso
Using savings groups as a platform, this program links women farmers to services and financing for climate-smart agriculture, strengthens nutritional knowledge, and builds skills for better food utilization. Increased savings and assets strengthen resilience for tougher times.
Savings group members learn about agricultural information specific to the fragile ecosystem that supports their farms. They are trained in affordable conservation techniques, practices to improve their yields, and business and negotiation skills. As a group, they gain access to suppliers and supplies that would otherwise be challenging for an individual woman farmer to get – fertilizers, pesticides, and improved seeds.
Savings and loans are generated and managed by the group, which is also offered access to formal financial services through mobile banking.
Building Resilience in Burkina Faso is a project of Freedom from Hunger, a supporting organization to Grameen Foundation in Burkina Faso.
FarmerLink: Integrated Solutions for Coconut Farmers
Although they are the backbone of a one-billion-dollar national industry, most coconut farmers in the Philippines are chronically poor and especially vulnerable to climate change. Typhoon Haiyan destroyed 33 million coconut trees in 2013; four years later farmers are still rebuilding their livelihoods.
Our FarmerLink program connects coconut farmers with a range of services and information: from agricultural loan products and micro-insurance to real-time weather data to advice on crop pest management. Together, these services help farmers strengthen their businesses, build resilience, and mitigate losses due to changing climate and extreme weather.
FarmerLink combines satellite data and farm data collected by mobile-equipped field agents to predict and detect threats from climate-sensitive pests and disease. As threats are identified, farmers receive warnings over their mobile phones. Early warning also enables government agents to focus on outbreak areas, sending response teams to help control outbreaks before they cause devastating losses.
Partners include the government’s Philippine Coconut Authority and private-sector coconut buyers, including Franklin Baker and Nutiva, as well as Planet Labs, Stichting Progreso, and Filipino microfinance institutions, food corporations, and agronomists. The project plans to reach 20,000 farmers by 2017 and is part of the Global Resilience Partnership.