5 Minutes of Inspiration: How Seaweed is Graduating People out of Poverty

5 Minutes of Inspiration: How Seaweed is Graduating People out of Poverty


By Emily Janoch

CARE in the Philippines has helped 5,292 people out of poverty - a 23% graduation rate. What was the secret ingredient? Seaweed. Well, seaweed, cassava, hemp, and a few other value chains.

Did you know CARE promotes seaweed as a cash crop?  Turns out, as part of the Typhoon Haiyan Reconstruction project, seaweed is one of the value chains we focus on. Cassava turns out to have a lot better impact though, since it’s less sensitive to climate change than seaweed is.

In honor of World Humanitarian Day, let’s take a look at how we move from emergency response to development. The project was funded from 2015-2019 with $23 million from Global Affairs Canada, and the Mid-term evaluation is already showing promising results.

What have we accomplished?

Lowered poverty: 23% of families in the communities where we work now have income levels above the poverty line—up from 0 when the project started.

Helped families become more resilient: Families are 10 times more likely to have insurance, and 12 times more likely to have an emergency preparedness plan than they were when the project started in 2014.

Increase income: 86% of families report an increase in income, and 71% report an increase in savings in the last 3 years. 82% of families saw production increase. For families involved in growing cassava, they nearly tripled their income—by $108 more a month.

Convinced businesses to become more gender equitable: There are 18 new businesses or financial services designed to be gender aware that are equally available to men and women.

Men and women work together: The amount of men and women sharing activities more than tripled, up to 39% of the participants.

How did we get there?

Build on existing tools: The project used existing business curriculum to create trainings for 20,520 people in community-based enterprises, and focused especially on women (68% of trainees) for business opportunities.

Focus on finances: The project trained 9,795 people in financial risk analysis and financial literacy to help them build more resilient businesses.  In fact, 82% of participants say they are putting in place business continuity plans with this training.

Integrate gender from the beginning: By putting gender considerations into all of their activities: value chains, trainings, financial products, and work with the government, the project was able to see quick gender results. This included 2,877 people participating in gender dialogues.

Work with partners: The project trained 241 government and service provider staff and helped strengthen relationships between governments and communities to ensure sustainable programs.

Want to learn more? Check out the Mid-term evaluation

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