U.S. government awards grants to Marawi’s displaced communities

MEMBERS of the Kangiginawae Ko Masa organization receive a grant certificate from USAID Acting Mission Director Patrick Wesner (third from right) and Task Force Bangon Marawi Field Office Manager Assistant Secretary Felix Castro, Jr. (second from right) during the community grants handover event in Marawi City.

AS PART of its commitment to improve economic and social conditions of communities directly affected by the 2017 Marawi siege, the U.S. government awarded 75 micro-grants to communities and business owners displaced from Marawi.

U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Acting Mission Director Patrick Wesner and Task Force Bangon Marawi Field Office Manager Assistant Secretary Felix Castro visited Marawi and Iligan on June 11 for the community grants handover events.

The micro-grants, each valued at Php260,000, will assist displaced families as they restart their livelihoods and small businesses, and will help host communities build small scale infrastructure and convene community events critical to the recovery.

The grantees will receive livelihoods training and capacity building to bolster their efforts.

The micro-grants and training program is part of USAID’s three-year, Php1.35 billion Marawi Response Project, which supports the economic recovery and social cohesion of displaced and host communities in Marawi, Lanao Del Sur, Lanao Del Norte and Iligan.

“The U.S. government, in partnership with the Philippine government, is a committed friend, partner and ally supporting your journey to recovery,” said Wesner in his message to community members from Marawi and Lanao Del Sur.

WOMEN entrepreneurs from Lanao del Norte, Lanao del Sur, Iligan, and Marawi display their grant certificates in Iligan City.

In Marawi City, Wesner and Assistant Secretary Castro were joined by Lanao Del Sur’s Sangguniang Kabataan Federation President Jeff Saro Adiong to distribute community micro-grants.

At the event, Niki Macaraob, a member of the Kangiginawae Ko Masa organization who received a community grant and will participate in dressmaking training, explained, “Malaking tulong ang dressmaking package na aming matatanggap sa aming pangkabuhayan (The dressmaking assistance that we will receive will make a lot of difference to ourlivelihood).”

The micro-grants in Iligan City were awarded in collaboration with the Bangon Marawi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BMCCI), an association of entrepreneurs displaced from the most affected area of Marawi.

Nasser R. Hadji Salic, a recipient of a business micro-grant, said, “Bukod sa kanilang grant assistance program ay mahalaga ang mga training nila para maging sustainable ang aming mga negosyo [In addition to the U.S. government’s grant assistance program, their training activities are critical in ensuring the sustainability of our businesses].”

The Marawi Response Project was launched in 2018 in partnership with Plan International, with support from local organizations Ecosystems Work for Essential Benefits, Inc. and Maranao People Development Center, Inc.The project is part of the U.S. government’s Php3.2 billion ($59.1 million) commitment to humanitarian and recovery work in and around Marawi.