Mastercard Foundation COVID-19 Resilience and Recovery Program

Questions and Answers

Updated April 9, 2020

Why is Mastercard Foundation focusing on COVID-19?

The COVID-19 pandemic is creating major economic and social challenges globally.

The crisis is further exacerbated by the desert locust plagues and the slump of oil prices in some countries.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to take its toll on the world, its impact is particularly devastating for economically vulnerable people globally, including in Africa and among Indigenous communities in Canada.

We expect that the prospects of young people in Africa and Canada will be deeply impacted by this global pandemic as they face widespread illness, unemployment, food insecurity, social isolation, and hardships.

Millions of young people have had their education disrupted.

Micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and businesses are struggling to survive COVID-19’s ripple effects.

What is Mastercard Foundation’s response to COVID-19?

Mastercard Foundation launched its Mastercard Foundation COVID-19 Recovery and Resilience Program, which has two main goals. First, to deliver emergency support for health workers, first responders, and students. The second is to strengthen the diverse institutions that are our first line of defence against the social and economic aftermath of this disease. That includes universities, financial service providers, businesses, technology start-ups, incubators, government agencies, youth organizations, and non-governmental organizations. Mastercard Foundation already has a strong network of partners in key sectors. We are committed to navigating this crisis alongside them in ways that protect their institutional integrity and enable them to deliver solutions to challenges created by this pandemic. We are also exploring new partnerships specifically tailored to delivering our COVID-19 response.

Which countries will benefit?

 The program will focus on working with institutions and communities in Africa and within Indigenous communities in Canada.

In Africa, the program will provide support within seven countries; Rwanda, Kenya, Senegal, Ghana, Ethiopia, Uganda, and Nigeria. Other African countries will benefit through Regional initiatives.

What interventions will the program focus on?

 This program has two fundamental aims. First, to address immediate needs such as:

  • Support for health workers and first responders.
  • Providing emergency funds for students.

Second, the Program will double down on initiatives whose impact will span both the present and the future and enable economic recovery. Specifically, it will work to:

  • Expand access to financial services for micro, small, and medium enterprises, which will enable businesses to withstand the economic effects of COVID-19, explore options for digitizing their businesses, and potentially contribute to public health response through the production and distribution of critically-needed health care products and equipment.
  • Enable e-learning to assist young people whose education was disrupted by the pandemic. We will work with educational organizations to help them transition to digital delivery of courses, mentoring, and student outreach. This will not only prepare learning institutions for future crises but also for the future of education.
  • Support the adoption of digital solutions to address real needs of populations such as financial services; food production and delivery; housing and construction; transportation and logistics; as well as tools for everything from public health to supply chain management. We know that economies with widespread access to digital platforms and marketplaces have fared better than those without this level of connectivity.

Why is the program focusing on strengthening institutions and building their resilience?

The Program’s goal is to deepen the capacity of institutions to withstand and respond to this crisis, while building their resilience. It will target the types of institutions that constitute our first line of defence against the social and economic aftermath of this crisis. We want to ensure that on the other side of this challenge, communities rise up stronger and these institutions emerge ready to lead and support the important work of reigniting economies.

How much has the Foundation allocated within the program?

Given global uncertainty around the likely duration and effects of the pandemic, the Foundation has not set an initial limit to its support. We will coordinate with governments and other organizations to determine where we will be of most value and where we can have the most impact. We will target needs identified within that context and continually review our capacity to meet them.

What is the timeline for projects being supported by the program?

The duration of the programs will vary according to the nature of the intervention. The main drive is to support urgent or immediate interventions that focus on the first 60 days while recovery and resilience programs will run for a longer timeframe.

Will partnerships created under this program extend beyond COVID-19?

 The Mastercard Foundation COVID-19 Recovery and Resilience Program is specifically designed to target challenges related to the global pandemic, in particular geographies.

It is, however, possible that through building relationships with partners and others via the program, there may be a natural alignment with our broader strategies and collaborations in the future. More on our strategy can be found here  https://mastercardfdn.org/our-strategy/

It is important to note that Mastercard Foundation’s existing partnerships and goals under the EleV and Mastercard Foundation Scholars programs and Young Africa Works Strategy will continue under the banner of those independent initiatives.

Will the Foundation favour collaborative/consortia partnerships?

The Foundation is encouraging collaboration to maximize impact and reach and to create streamlined accessing of support.

How will the Foundation ensure the needs of the most vulnerable are being addressed?

In many cases, the Foundation will work with partners that already target and successfully reach vulnerable communities. Importantly, the Mastercard Foundation COVID-19 Recovery and Resilience Program has deliberately chosen to focus on a set of issues that have a direct bearing on the lives of vulnerable populations, including addressing challenges of unemployment, food insecurity, and disruptions to education that have been generated or exacerbated by COVID-19. As with all programming, the Foundation will work closely with partners, independent organizations, and beneficiaries to assess the impact of our interventions. We will continue to engage in analysis and consultation and be guided by an Indigenous Insights Group in Canada and young people in Africa.

Can individuals participate in the program?

The Foundation will deliver the program through partner organizations in key sectors. However, many of these partners, such as community organizations, businesses, and youth organizations, need as much support as possible. Individuals can consider investing in or promoting the initiatives they are undertaking to address COVID-19.

How can organizations participate in the program?

The Foundation recognizes a need to move swiftly to deliver urgently-needed support amid this pandemic. The Foundation has adapted its systems and processes to that end. The Foundation is pro-actively identifying and reaching out to organizations and institutions who are engaged in high impact work within the areas of need that the Mastercard Foundation COVID-19 Recovery and Resilience Program is prioritizing.

Will existing partners to the Foundation receive additional support through the program?

Yes, the Foundation is prepared to offer additional support to our partners whose work has been disrupted by COVID-19 and who are formulating solutions to challenges presented by the pandemic. Existing partners are encouraged to submit proposals that outline ideas or solutions that can positively address the effects of COVID-19.

Is the program linked to Mastercard?

No, Mastercard Foundation is completely independent from Mastercard Company. The Foundation was established in 2006 through the generosity of Mastercard when it became a public company. The Foundation is independent with its own Board of Directors and President and CEO.

With the launch of the program, is the Foundation shifting away from its core focus on youth employment and its current partnerships?

 Not at all. In fact, the Foundation’s current programs, Young Africa Works, ELeV, and the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program are now more relevant than ever. Mastercard Foundation remains fully committed to our strategy and the mission of enabling young women and men to access skills, education, and dignified work.

Through the Foundation’s Young Africa Works strategy, Canadian EleV program, and the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program, the Foundation will continue to work with partners and others to ensure that millions of young people, especially young women, access quality education, financial services, and dignified work.