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

MINDA Secretary Manny Piñol (left) and USAID/Philippines’ Jeffrey Lehrer with members of the Ompongan o mga Bae sa Ranao Group, a recipient of a Marawi Response Project grant.

MANILA The United States awarded six micro-grants to community groups composed of Marawi’s displaced citizens and their host families.  Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) Chairman Emmanuel Piñol joined U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Office of Economic Development and Governance Chief Jeffrey Lehrer at the grants handover ceremony on Wednesday, January 15, in Iligan.

Each micro-grant is valued at Php260,000 ($5,000) and will support community learning facilities, including training spaces and daycare centers.

The micro-grants are part of USAID’s three-year, Php1.35 billion ($25 million) 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.  Launched in 2018, the project is a partnership between USAID and international non-governmental organization Plan International, with support from local organizations Ecosystems Work for Essential Benefits, Inc. and Maranao People Development Center, Inc.

“The U.S. government, in partnership with the Philippine government, is committed to supporting Lanao communities in their journey to recovery,” said Lehrer in his message to grant recipients.  Representatives of Task Force Bangon Marawi, Lanao Del Sur provincial government, and city governments of Marawi and Iligan joined the event.

Ms. Nikki Macaraub, a beneficiary of the Marawi Response Project, worked with others in her community to set up a learning center for livelihood opportunities.  “Now that we have a facility for teaching sewing and dressmaking, we can help more displaced women like me restart businesses to support our families to rebuild our lives,” said Macaraub.

To date, the United States, through USAID, has committed more than Php3.4 billion ($63.6 million) for humanitarian and recovery work in and around Marawi.