Global non-profit organization Grameen Foundation announced a new initiative that utilizes blockchain to provide capital support to micro entrepreneurs who are facing challenges because of the pandemic. This project, the “Social Dividend Campaign,” is in collaboration with Celo and is poised to help repatriated Overseas Filipino Workers who have lost their jobs and income.
In a press release, Grameen Foundation said it will work with the Atikha Overseas Workers and Communities Initiative to identify 800 beneficiaries, who will be trained to first download Celo’s Valora wallet, and from there, they will receive 200 Cello Dollars (cUSD) which is equivalent to roughly Php 10,000.
Once the beneficiaries receive the cUSD, they will use it to purchase “Kabuhayan Packages” or “Livelihood Packages” from Ekolife Overseas Filipinos Worldwide Marketing Cooperative. The package has equipment and tools to help the beneficiaries start their own business and therefore begin their economic recovery.
The beneficiaries will receive skills and business training to improve their sales and income. The trainings could be raising poultry, baking pastries, or processing jams or meat.
According to Cairoline Beloso, the assistance could help them kickstart their recovery. “[This] assistance is a step for us to develop ourselves, help our neighbors and our environment by using natural materials,” Beloso said.
Grameen said they have done a similar initiative last June, and they will be doing it again in August and September. “We were privileged to work with Celo on our COVID-19 RELIEF Program in April, and we are delighted to build on that effort to reach more people whose livelihoods have been ravaged by this pandemic,” said Grameen Foundation President & CEO Steve Hollingworth.
Celo is a blockchain designed to support stablecoins and digital assets while using mobile phone numbers to secure the user’s public keys. Leveraging Celo’s Valora app means the transfer of money from one user to another takes seconds for a fraction of a fee that’s usually paid when the same money transfer is done through traditional remittance outlets. In BitPinas’ review of Valora, it noted that this style of remittance allows one to send or transfer money in lots of small amounts for specific things. “For example, instead of sending $100 to your mother for everything needed back home, you can send $15 to your grandmother for her medicines, $25 to your brother for his school supplies, $50 to your mother, and $10 to your dad. You’d never do this with traditional remittance because the per transaction cost will be so high – in this way Valora gives greater flexibility and control of the money you remit home.”
According to Angelo Kalaw, Partner for Research and Innovation at the Celo Foundation, the goal of Celo is for an inclusive financial system that contributes to achieving prosperity for all. “It is exciting to work with Grameen to push the boundaries of blockchain technology and help empower entrepreneurs and local economies,” Kalaw said in a statement.
Grameen Foundation previously worked with Celo for its initial COVID-19 relief project last year. The intention of which was to provide immediate aid to those who were left without jobs because of the pandemic. Grameen Foundation CEO Steve Hollingworth noted the success of the project, emphasizing how almost none of the recipients have heard of crypto or blockchain before. “Yet [they] were able to easily download the Valora app, receive and use cUSD to pay for their basic needs, and paid almost no fees to do so. We are exceptionally pleased with the outcome of this project, as it was the first time we embraced blockchain technology, and the results were far superior to anything we could have imagined,” Hollingworth said.
This article is published on BitPinas: Celo, Grameen Foundation, Collaborate Anew For Blockchain-Enabled Support to 800 Filipino Workers