Acumen | Global Emergency Facility

Acumen Global Emergency Facility

Helping enterprises and communities withstand crisis for long-term impact

Acumen’s investees and Fellows have the expertise and infrastructure required to serve the low-income communities most affected by COVID-19. But they can’t do this frontline work without funding. Acumen’s emergency capital supports enterprises so that they can both serve their communities’ immediate needs through the pandemic and continue their long-term work of serving the poor and vulnerable after the crisis.

Global Emergency Facility At a Glance

$3.3M

deployed to date

84

enterprises funded

16

Countries represented

The Facility

Acumen is actively raising USD 5 million to provide grants and loans to investees and Fellows’ organizations through the crisis. These enterprises are using the funds to:

Withstand the Crisis

Because many Fellows and investees are early-stage enterprises, they are particularly vulnerable to the economic hardships caused by COVID-19. Social entrepreneurs and their employees face new challenges such as health risks, decreased or halted production or even bankruptcy. Given their early stage, they are also less likely to be eligible for formal credit or limited government relief funds. These enterprises are using Acumen’s funding to withstand the crisis so that they can continue fighting poverty over the long-term.

Respond to New Challenges

Some entrepreneurs are pivoting their business models to respond to their communities’ new, urgent needs due to COVID-19—from repurposing factories to produce facemasks to transitioning to virtual learning to distributing free meals and sanitation supplies. These enterprises are using Acumen’s funding for the supplies and infrastructure required to operationalize these new approaches.

 

AREAS OF SUPPORT

Essential Needs

Helping entrepreneurs provide access to essential goods and services for vulnerable communities. 

Employee Support

Providing wages to employees facing lost income due to decreased or halted operations.

Business Continuity

Sustaining short-term operating expenses to withstand the pandemic.

Personal Protective Equipment

Supplying personal protective equipment for essential workers continuing to serve their communities. 

Featured COVID Relief Enterprises

The Assembly Hub
WEST AFRICA | WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT

Fellow Yoanna Chikezie is Founder of The Assembly Hub, a social enterprise offering training and upskilling for fashion designers and tailors in Nigeria.

The Assembly Hub is activating its network of manufacturers to produce facemasks for healthcare workers and citizens, and launching support services programs for small garment businesses.

DRASA Health Trust
WEST AFRICA | HEALTHCARE

Fellow Niniola Williams is Managing Director of DRASA Health Trust, a public health nonprofit focused on infection prevention and outbreak preparedness in Nigeria.

As a member of the Lagos State COVID-19 Emergency Response Operations Team, DRASA is training frontline health workers on how to prevent the spread of the virus while administering care.

enjuba
East Africa | Education

Fellow Aaron Kirunda is Co-Founder and CEO of enjuba, a Ugandan education nonprofit improving literacy and school completion rates with its children’s books, spelling competitions, reading camps and teacher training.

enjuba is now offering daily WhatsApp reading lessons, testing an online version of its Spelling Bee and supporting teachers with professional development initiatives.

Ezel Nursery and Primary School
EAST AFRICA | EDUCATION

Fellow Opolot Ephraim Okurut is Founder and Director of Ezel Nursery and Primary School (ENPS) in rural Agule, Uganda.

With schools closed, ENPS is collaborating with local teachers to deliver printed lessons to ENPS students as well as those from neighboring schools.

Felek Notebooks
East Africa | Education

Fellow Suleiman Shifaw is Managing Director of Felek Notebooks, an artisan notebook producer, whose profits provide school supplies to underprivileged children in Ethiopia.


Felek Notebooks repurposed its machinery to manufacture the only FDA-approved face masks in Ethiopia.

The Gender Lab
India | Gender Education

Fellow Ayushi Banerji is Co-Founder of The Gender Lab, an organization building gender equality in India through youth education and leadership programs.

With schools closed, The Gender Lab has launched virtual offerings including a podcast to amplify the voices of women, interactive sessions for adolescents on gender and a webinar series on topics such as masculinity, gender stereotypes and women’s unpaid care work in quarantine.

GREEN AFRO-PALMS
WEST AFRICA | AGRICULTURE

Fellow Kwame Ababio is CEO of Green Afro-Palms (GAP), a company producing vegetables and palm oil sourced from Ghana’s smallholder farmers.

GAP developed an e-commerce platform to enable 500 retailers—who sell GAP’s vegetables and palm oil in Ghana’s markets—to conduct online sales.

Gudi Mudi Khadi
INDIA | WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT

Fellow Nivedita Rai manages Gudi Mudi Khadi, a project of WomenWeave, that aims to make weaving a viable livelihood for women in Maheshwar.

Gudi Mudi Khadi is creating a new product line of handwoven textiles designed and priced for the Indian market, maintaining women artisans’ incomes.

HelloMed
EAST AFRICA | HEALTHCARE

Fellow Aloys Rukundo is Founder & CEO of HelloMed, a company offering medicine delivery and in-home healthcare services for low-income patients in Rwanda.

HelloMed is hiring additional physicians to meet the increased demand for in-home care and delivering medicine for free while customers are unable to earn an income during the lockdown.

IBT
Pakistan | Cultural Preservation

Fellows Aftab Ahmad and Zubair Torwali are Co-Founders of Idara Baraye Taleem-o-Taraqi (IBT), an organization preserving the endangered languages and cultures of marginalized indigenous communities in Northern Pakistan.

IBT is continuing operations remotely during the COVID lockdown: publishing eight new books in the Torwali language and teaching 40 young people how to write in Torwali.

ICIA
PAKISTAN | WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT

Fellow Hazer Gul is Founder of the Islamapur Cottage Industries Association (ICIA), a social enterprise changing the artisan weaving industry with its handmade woolen products and capacity building program.

ICIA is creating a new line of woolen products priced for the Pakistani market, maintaining production and weavers’ incomes through the COVID lockdown.

The Irede Foundation
West Africa | Healthcare

Fellow Crystal Chigbu is Executive Director of The Irede Foundation, an organization providing child amputees with prosthetic limbs, healthcare and community support.

Irede’s health workers are now providing virtual mental health support, prosthesis management and COVID-19 safety practices for child amputees.

KEEP
WEST AFRICA | EDUCATION

Fellow Brenda Brewer Moore is Founder & CEO of Kids’ Educational Engagement Project (KEEP), a nonprofit increasing literacy in Liberia.

KEEP is conducting read-aloud sessions online with over 30,000 viewers weekly as well as providing free mobile phones to 250 students, enabling them to participate in at-home virtual programming.

Kshamtalaya Foundation
India | Education

Fellow Vivek Kumar is Co-Founder and CEO of Kshamtalaya Foundation, a nonprofit focused on transforming the quality of learning in India’s public education system. 

With schools closed, Kshamtalaya has partnered with a local radio station to broadcast a mini educational series with stories, mindfulness practice, songs and fun facts for young students without access to the internet.

LABOURNET
INDIA | WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT

Investee LabourNet’s skill-building and job placement programs have trained over 1 million informal workers in India.

LabourNet is now repurposing its 100-person staff of trainers to serve free food and sanitation products to nearly 300,000 migrant workers stranded in cities without any source of income.

Lambano SL Limited
WEST AFRICA | AGRICULTURE

Fellow Bridgetta Amoateng is Co-Founder of Lambano, a food production company sourcing from smallholder farmers in Sierra Leone.

Lambano is now providing protective equipment and mobile phones to farmers and delivering to Freetown customers—maintaining farmers’ incomes in the process.

Life-Lab
India | Education

Fellow Lewitt Somarajan is Founder and CEO of Life-Lab, a nonprofit increasing access to high-quality science education.

With schools closed, Life-Lab is providing at-home learners with digital comic books and animated videos to increase scientific literacy as well as offering DIY Science Kits.

North East Centre for Equity Action on Integrated Development
India | Education

Fellow Neeladri Bora is Co-Founder of North East Centre for Equity Action on Integrated Development (NEAID), a nonprofit improving children’s education and nutrition in Assam.

With schools closed, NEAID delivers at-home learning resources as well as food and sanitation kits to 1,000 students through a network of volunteers.

Mauqa.Online
Pakistan | Sanitation

Fellow Muhammad Mustafa is the Co-Founder of Mauqa.Online, a household services provider employing former informal sector workers as professional cleaners, caretakers and cooks.

Mauqa.Online is now offering safe, disinfectant cleaning services to help essential businesses in Islamabad fight COVID-19—and in doing so, sustaining the livelihoods of 60 staff cleaners.

Noble Hall Leadership Academy
West Africa | Education

Fellow Maryam Mutallab is Founder of Noble Hall Leadership Academy, an all-female secondary school bridging the gender education gap in Northern Nigeria.

With schools closed and many families now unable to pay tuition, Noble Hall is continuing to teach its students online—regardless of ability to pay.

Numida
EAST AFRICA | FINANCIAL SERVICES

Fellows Mina Shahid and Catherine Denis are Co-Founders of Numida, a fintech startup in Uganda that provides working capital loans to financially excluded and semiformal micro and small businesses.

In response to government lockdowns, Numida has deferred the loan payments of 1,050 customers and is supporting an additional 1,250 small businesses with direct funding to help reactivate the Ugandan small business economy post-COVID.

Our Family Clinic
INDIA | HEALTHCARE

Investee Our Family Clinic makes affordable, quality healthcare available 24/7 to low-income customers in southern India.

Our Family Clinic has developed a telemedicine platform to provide access to virtual care while reducing the risk of contagion.

Project Potential
INDIA | RURAL DEVELOPMENT

Fellow Zubin Manav is Founder of Project Potential, an organization empowering changemakers in Bihar to lead local community development from construction to theater production.

Project Potential is monitoring and addressing hunger for families in Bihar and spreading prevention awareness in 275 villages.

SARAL DESIGNS
INDIA | HEALTHCARE

Fellow Suhani Mohan is Co-Founder & CEO of Saral Designs, a company producing and distributing sanitary pads to women in semi-urban and rural areas in India.

Saral Designs has not only repurposed its sanitary pad machines to create facemasks but is now building an automatic machine to produce 60,000 masks per day.

Science Fuse
Pakistan | Education

Fellow Lala Rukh Fazal-Ur-Rahman is Co-Founder and CEO of Science Fuse, a company increasing access to high-quality informal science education in Pakistan.

With schools closed, Science Fuse is offering online science lessons in both English and Urdu, and developing at-home experiment kits and books.

SEHAT KAHANI
PAKISTAN | HEALTHCARE

Fellow Dr. Sara Saeed Khurram is Co-Founder & CEO of Sehat Kahani, an all-female medical team providing virtual care to underserved communities via video conference and mobile app.

Sehat Kahani is offering COVID-19 telemedicine services free of charge, enabling patients to access care quickly while reducing their risk of contagion.

Shiksharth
India | Education

Fellow Ashish Shrivastava is Co-Founder and Program Head of Shiksharth, a nonprofit increasing students’ access to quality, contextualized education in conflict-affected tribal areas of southern Chhattisgarh.

With schools now closed and household financial pressures increasing, Shiksharth is distributing at-home learning kits to keep 12,000 children engaged—and their families from rejoining the state’s armed conflict.

Starfish International
West Africa | Education

Fellow Mam-Yassin Sarr is Co-Founder and Director of Starfish International, an afterschool enrichment program for underserved girls in The Gambia.

With schools closed, Starfish is offering video lessons, reading labs, extracurricular activities and entrepreneurship training for their students at home.

Sukhibhava
India | Healthcare

Fellow Dilip Kumar Pattubala is Co-Founder and CEO of Sukhibhava, a nonprofit increasing access to menstrual health products and education, making menstruation a non-issue in marginalized communities across India.

Sukhibhava launched a nationwide helpline for free menstrual and sexual reproductive health information and tele-gynecology consultations.

The Training Institute
West Africa | Workforce Development

Fellow Christine Sesay is Founder and CEO of The Training Institute, a company offering intensive vocational training and job placement to young people in Sierra Leone.

The Training Institute is now teaching its Work Ready Africa bootcamp online and identifying partners to provide students with free internet to access the training.

Village Energy
EAST AFRICA | ENERGY

Fellow Waringa Matindi is CEO of Village Energy, a last-mile solar energy distribution and installation company for enterprises in underserved areas of Uganda.

Village Energy is providing free installation and maintenance of solar street lights, home systems and lanterns privately donated to four Uganda Ministry of Health facilities—including two health centers previously serving up to 70 patients per day without electricity.

Vision for Humanity
EAST AFRICA | REFUGEE SERVICES

Fellow Sunday Asau is Founder and Executive Director of Vision for Humanity (ViFoH), a nonprofit engaged in community-led development and relief projects for victims of conflict in Uganda.

Facing a rise in food insecurity, ViFoH is providing 400 refugees with training, inputs and equipment to grow their own vegetable gardens.

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