Grameen Buhay: Rebuilding lives in the Philippines

In the Philippines language of Tagalog, “buhay” means “life”. The COVID-19 pandemic has not only caused mass loss of life across the world, but the stalling of the global economy has also destroyed the livelihoods of so many. Through our work at Dana Asia, we see how communities in the developing world are struggling to rebuild their lives, a struggle that will continue for many years to come.

Dana Asia is taking positive action towards rebuilding sustainable futures in Cambodia and Philippines through relief action plans. On November 5th 2021, the Philippines action plan officially launched in Laguna, Manila. The project, named Grameen Buhay (Livelihood Interventions for the Enterprising Poor), is a joint venture between Dana Asia, Grameen Pilipinas (GPMI), and Rotary Club of Manila to support communities most effected by the COVID-19 pandemic to rebuild their lives through livelihood skills training and microfinance opportunities.

The project was launched in its first project site, Lumban, Laguna, on November 5th and the orientation introduced the three phases of the project: Phase 1 a 6-month food relief program, Phase 2 the training and development of livelihood skills, and Phase 3 the microfinance program to kickstart social business initiatives.

30 community members, as well as representatives from the GPMI and Dana Asia teams, attended the launch and received packages of rice, poultry, eggs, and vegetables. During the orientation, the GPMI team collected information from the attendees about their livelihood interests, information which will be used to shape the next phases of implementation. The top three livelihood interests were: 1. Animal husbandry, 2. Urban gardening/farming, 3. Sari-sari stores.

This information will be used to develop social business initiatives in phases 2 and 3, balancing business viability and potential sustainability, with community context and the skills and interests of business owners. Local partners will be sought for specific skills training, where necessary, and GPMI will facilitate microfinance and entrepreneurship training for the setup of small businesses.

This was the first of three launches in three different communities. The second launch event is scheduled for November 19th 2021 at the next project site in Pasong Tamo, Quezon City.

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