The NGO ecosystem in India was hit hard by the pandemic. The slow but steady progress that civil society organisations have been making over the years was cut short. Many found their projects bereft of donors since corporates and citizens both started pouring their CSR funds into COVID relief programmes. We are still uncertain about when the pandemic will be over, so NGOs need all the support they can to stay afloat and continue their good works.
MetLife Foundation is working with multiple NGOs in India to help mitigate the health and financial impacts of COVID-19. MetLife Foundation was created in 1976 to continue MetLife’s long tradition of corporate contributions and community involvement. Since its founding through the end of 2019, MetLife Foundation provided more than $860 million in grants and $85 million in programme-related investments to make a positive impact in the communities where MetLife operates.
In India, the sum spent during the Covid era is around $600,000. SEEDS India used financial support from MetLife Foundation to provide dry rations, hygiene kits and financial relief to more than 2,800 families across Mumbai, Bengaluru, Wayanad, Dehradun and Haridwar. With government permits to operate during the lockdown, field teams from SEEDS India equipped with personal protective equipment worked closely with local authorities to identify those in most immediate need of food and supplementary funds.
MetLife Foundation worked with Grameen Foundation India to offer unconditional cash transfers to 1,225 vulnerable households across Bihar, Nawada district and Vidarbha in Maharashtra, reaching more than 6,000 people whose livelihoods were impacted by the pandemic.
In remote areas where there are no bank branches or ATMs, poor women have a very hard time-saving money to weather a crisis. Mittras—often female leaders in their communities who are better able to relate to the poor, rural women they serve—connect households to essential financial services through mobile phones. Cash transfers to these mobile money accounts will make it possible to keep food on the table and micro-businesses afloat during COVID-19. Grameen leveraged its ‘Grameen4Giving’ app and on-the-ground presence to identify those facing hardship.
To support children impacted by the pandemic, MetLife Foundation has been working with RoomtoRead to help more than 100 children from low-income families continue their education, and has partnered with Aasraa Trust to provide shelter and nutritious meals to more than 75 vulnerable children living in shelter care.
In addition, the Foundation recently kicked off a three-year programme with nonprofit organisation Drishtee to support women from the Madhubani district in Bihar. The CSR programme will expand their income generation opportunities and build a supply chain to establish urban market linkages. The CSR initiative is expected to benefit 6,300 families over time.