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To support participants and beneficiaries through the pandemic, the Fund launched the COVID-19 Recovery and Resilience Challenge in 2020.

This new funding opportunity for participants was aligned to the overall Mastercard Foundation Recovery and Resilience Program, and enabled Fund participants to apply to grants of up to $250,000 to be used over the following twelve months, in order to: 

Screenshot 2022-10-26 at 12.55.18.pngAdapt business operations to overcome accessibility challenges and continue to serve rural communities 

Screenshot 2022-10-26 at 12.55.26.pngProvide bridging finance to affected communities, particularly women and smallholder farmers 

Screenshot 2022-10-26 at 12.55.30.pngSupport income retention and improving resilience for affected workers

The participants supported under this challenge were spread across nine different countries in East, Southern, and West Africa. Twelve participant projects were supported from 32 applications submitted, and US$ 2.4 million was committed in support on this initiative.

The majority (75%) of participants supported tackled more than one objective. The most popular area was the preservation of employment income. This reflected the difficulties businesses faced in retaining field agents and contract workers during lockdown periods or in the face of other commercial difficulties.

Regardless of the objective, a common theme in participant projects supported was digitisation. 10 of the 12 projects involved the adoption of digital tools. These included new digital mechanisms to reach customers or to enable payments, as well as to deliver training and to continue to work with remote agent

For a detailed view of this challenge, participant achievements and overall Fund insights, download the full report below:

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