In the context of the ongoing pandemic that has brought more families deeper into poverty, digital platforms have been repurposed to leverage their reach and scalable capacities to soften the economic downturn’s impact on the poor and the vulnerable.
Carrying this impact thrust, Caritas Manila – the lead social service ministry of the Catholic Church in the Philippines – is co-launching the Tuloy Aral Project to support the food needs of over 5,000 youth scholars from the poorest communities in the country, while supporting the livelihood of rural smallholder farmers through technology.
Also spearheading the project is GrabPay, the leading e-wallet of super-app Grab, and Mayani, an impact-driven ag-eCommerce platform with over 28,000 smallholder farmers, including the Pililia farmers of the Pilipinas Shell Foundation, Inc (PSFI).
“For the past 60 years, Caritas Manila has been actively shaping total human development and assisting the needs of the unfortunate members of our society through mission-driven partnerships,” says Fr. Anton Pascual, Executive Director of Caritas Manila. “This project firmly complements our Youth Servant Leadership & Education Program (YSLEP), while concurrently extending our alleviation outcomes to our local farmers by sourcing the donated food packs from them.”
YSLEP, which covers the children of the displaced workers due to the pandemic, aims to put them through college and technical vocation education while giving them the necessary means and basic support like food as they complete their schooling.
“While technology is the core enabling engine for mobilizing broad online support for Tuloy Aral, its impact components are very social and two-fold: helping farmers at the grassroots and supporting the basic nourishment needs of the youth scholars. We are glad to play a fundamental role in making this happen, especially now when it matters the most,” remarked JT Solis and Atty. Ron Dime, the Co-Founders of Mayani, whose farm-to-table play has been revolutionizing the agricultural supply in the country.
Mayani, who now powers the fresh produce value chain of the likes of Shell, Robinsons, and Waltermart, among others, is a long-standing partner of GrabPay with the latter serving as its e-wallet of choice in the Mayani ag-eCommerce site. Their existing collaborations include the ongoing Online National Food Fair for Cordillera farmers with the backing of the Department of Trade and Industry.
Grab will be signal boosting Tuloy Aral via its mobile app starting this August leading to the Mayani ag-eCommerce site with various curated vegetable, fruit, and rice boxes that the market can choose from and donate. Mayani will reinforce the online traction-building for the project by employing all its digital channels as well as key billboard sites across Metro Manila with HDI Adventures, its ad-tech lead partner.
The fresh produce in each box will then be harvested by farmers in Pililia, Rizal under PSFI’s Integrated Farming Bio-Systems program, consolidated by Mayani, and then delivered to Caritas Manila for eventual distribution.