Int’l Red Cross’ aid boosts Marawi recipients' livelihood

By Nef Luczon

June 30, 2022, 6:04 pm

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY—A number of displaced families in Marawi City managed to start their own successful businesses through the microeconomic initiative (MEI) program of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

Amer Hassan Sanggacala, ICRC Communication Officer for Mindanao, said the MEI is an intervention for recipients who are families of missing persons following the 2017 Marawi siege that leveled the city.

“The program is composed of three phases. One of them is the proposal (where beneficiaries will propose their business ideas). If it is approved, it will undergo assessment in the economic security department,” Sanggacala said in an interview Thursday.

As of June, there are about 150 potential program recipients subject to assessment, he said.

Funding will be given in two tranches as long as the post-distribution monitoring can confirm the sustainability of the project of the beneficiaries, he added.

“What's expected of them is they can establish independence and sustainability that will last them for several years,” Sanggacala said.

The MEI program provides vocational training, grants and microcredit support to people affected by conflict and persons with disabilities.

According to ICRC, a microeconomic grant can be used to either start or expand a business venture. It also places beneficiaries at the heart of the decision-making process, giving them greater ownership of the income-generating project.

Hadiyah (not her real name), 42, was one of the MEI recipients, decided to restart her life by opening a store to provide for the family daily needs.

Hadiyah, who lost her youngest son in the war, used the cash grant she received to open a corner store along a busy highway in Poblacion, Saguiaran, selling basic commodities.

“I just needed the capital to start (my business) again. When I received it, I did not waste any time and set up a small store along a busy highway where I stocked products that I knew would sell easily. The location helped to draw in customers and business picked up over time,” Hadiyah said.

But success did not come easy, as Hadiyah said there were days when she had no customers and the products did not sell. Some food items even rotted or expired.

“Running a store is a gamble. Profit is not constant and success is not guaranteed. You have to be consistent. Some days are definitely better than others,” she said. (PNA)