Grameen Foundation announced the launch of COVID-19 RELIEF (Response to Enhance Livelihoods of Individual Entrepreneurs and Families) in the Philippines. Supported by J.P. Morgan, the program will provide immediate relief and longer-term recovery support to 3,500 women entrepreneurs running microenterprises.

“J.P. Morgan understood early that relief and recovery of individual entrepreneurs, especially women, would be a critical step to ensuring the economic resilience of the Philippines in this time of crisis, and we are proud to partner with them on this important initiative,” said Steve Hollingworth, President and CEO of Grameen Foundation.

Individual entrepreneurs like sari-sari store owners are put at risk during this time of COVID-19. With immediate relief, they are able to support their family, continue their business and also serve their neighborhood.

The Enhanced Community Quarantine restricted local travel and stores, businesses, and offices had to close, which severely impacted the livelihood of much of the population. Women microentrepreneurs, and likely primary caregivers, have found it challenging to sustain their incomes due to the lockdown.

What’s more, Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) that traditionally support microentrepreneurs with financial and non-financial services, such as access to essential health, business and government information and linkages to additional services, are also facing constraints sustaining their businesses.

“J.P. Morgan is committed to helping address the impact of COVID-19 in communities around the world. Here in the Philippines and through our partnership with Grameen Foundation, we are tackling inclusive recovery with a focus on supporting the most vulnerable individuals as they go through these difficult times,” said Carlos Ma. G. Mendoza, Senior Country Officer — J.P. Morgan Philippines.

To implement this program – one of several in its overall COVID-19 RELIEF initiative – Grameen will target vulnerable individual female microentrepreneurs and their families located in Metro Manila and Cebu City. Grameen will collaborate with and provide technical assistance to selected partner MFIs to reach these entrepreneurs.

Women micro-entrepreneurs are the main target beneficiaries of our program as they play a major role in decision making for their household.

In Phase I of the program, lasting three to four months, Grameen will facilitate delivery of non-cash vouchers for pharmacies and supermarkets or in-kind packages of goods distributed through MFI centers. Existing MFI client/member data will be leveraged to develop criteria for beneficiary selections.

Grameen will also employ an SMS (short message service) campaign to send actionable advice on financial coping mechanisms and healthy behaviors related to COVID-19 to loan officers and microentrepreneurs.

J.P. Morgan and Grameen partnered in advancing financial literacy in the Philippines. Grameen will also employ Short Messaging Service (SMS) to send tips on financial coping mechanisms and healthy behaviors related to COVID-19 to loan officers and individual micro-entrepreneurs directly.

In Phase II, lasting eight to nine months, Grameen will deliver its Resilient Life, Resilient Business curriculum to MFIs in order to enhance their capacity to address member needs and promote financial resilience during the COVID-19 crisis and beyond. A monitoring and feedback mechanism will be incorporated to enable the MFIs to track areas where beneficiaries need additional support.

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About JPMorgan Chase & Co.
JPMorgan Chase & Co. JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM) is a leading global financial services firm with assets of $2.5 trillion and operations worldwide. The Firm is a leader in investment banking, financial services for consumers and small businesses, commercial banking, financial transaction processing, and asset management. A component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, JPMorgan Chase & Co. serves millions of consumers in the United States and many of the world’s most prominent corporate, institutional and government clients under its J.P. Morgan and Chase brands. Information about JPMorgan Chase & Co. is available at www.jpmorganchase.com.

About Grameen Foundation
Grameen Foundation is a global nonprofit whose mission is to enable the poor, especially women, to create a world without poverty and hunger. In collaboration with our partners, we harness the power of digital data to create tech-forward tools for self-sufficiency and deliver them through local Community Agent networks. The Grameen Foundation Model is transformative regardless of Internet access, smartphone ownership or the ability to read.

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