SOURCE: Grameen Foundation

October 13, 2008 14:21 ET

The American Red Cross and Grameen Foundation Expand Partnership in Indonesia

Creating New Economic Opportunities in Tsunami-Affected Communities of Aceh

WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwire - October 13, 2008) - The American Red Cross and Grameen Foundation are expanding their partnership to bring additional microfinance services to further alleviate poverty and revitalize communities in the tsunami-affected province of Aceh, Indonesia. This new initiative will enable YAMIDA, a Grameen Foundation partner microfinance institution, to open its first branch offices in the Aceh Jaya district, one of the poorest areas in Aceh.

"Our microfinance program will use loans and additional safety nets such as saving plans to help generate livelihoods and incomes for women, an essential component of sustainable recovery in tsunami-affected communities," says Gerald Anderson, senior director of the Tsunami Recovery Program for the American Red Cross. "The expansion of this partnership will help increase income for women to provide housing, nutrition, healthcare, and education for their families."

The three additional microfinance offices will be located in Lamno, Lhok Kruet and Calang, the most populated regions in the Aceh Jaya district. The offices will supplement branches in Aceh Besar, Bireuen and Pidie, bringing microfinance assistance to more than 6,750 additional women -- a total of 17,500 women by March 2010.

The Aceh Jaya district was closest to the epicenter of the 2004 Tsunami and the hardest hit area of Aceh. The devastating impact on its infrastructure and basic services made it difficult to introduce extensive microfinance initiatives until now.

"The people of Aceh Jaya have been on a long road to recovery and we are pleased to work with the American Red Cross and YAMIDA to bring financial services to the poorest and most vulnerable residents," said Alex Counts, president of Grameen Foundation. "With these services, they will be able to build sustainable businesses to better support and safeguard their families' futures."

Grameen Foundation began supporting microfinance activities in Indonesia following the tsunami. With the foundation's support, YAMIDA opened its first branch in Aceh province in September 2005 and today provides microloans to more than 7,000 clients through six offices.

About Grameen Foundation

Grameen Foundation is a global non-profit organization that combines microfinance, technology, and innovation to empower the world's poorest people to escape poverty through its network of partners in 24 countries. For more information, visit www.grameenfoundation.org.

About the American Red Cross

As part of the world's largest humanitarian network, the American Red Cross alleviates the suffering of victims of war, disaster and other international crises, and works with other Red Cross and Red Crescent societies to improve chronic, life-threatening conditions in developing nations. We reconnect families separated by emergencies and educate the American public about international humanitarian law. This assistance is made possible through the generosity of the American public. For more information, please visit www.redcross.org or join our blog at www.redcrosschat.org.

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