NEF Responds to COVID-19: Adaptation and Recovery Program

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted all the communities where NEF operates. 

It led to immediate challenges for our organization and for those we serve: how would we continue to host trainings for aspiring entrepreneurs, how would we transfer money for grants and revolving loans when the banks were closed, and how could we help ensure that those businesses we’ve supported in the past are able to endure? 

In response to the global health crisis and associated restrictions, our team developed emergency adaptation strategies and took early, innovative measures to deliver our programs safely, to meet the needs of the people we serve. The challenges we’ve faced have offered us an opportunity to explore and test new ways to deliver our programs. Some examples of this include: 

  • In Iraq, we piloted a newly developed digital e-learning platform which has since been rolled out to other projects and countries that require remote learning. The platform accommodates technological differences among the populations we serve. This approach to delivering training will allow us to continue expanding our reach to people in need, even after the pandemic has ended.  
  • In Syria and Mali, our teams worked with health committees, local governments, and partners to incorporate COVID-19 education and precautionary measures into existing initiatives.  
  • In Lebanon and Jordan, essential grant and loan distribution continues with new safety measures and protocols in place. 
  • In Moroccoour team used digital technology to hold online training and coaching sessions and to convene hundreds of young entrepreneurs through virtual networking events and round tables .
  • In Sudan, our team distributed critically needed food parcels, while taking the necessary precautionary measures. 
  • In Armenia, we provided rapid assistance to past participants of our programs, who were facing immediate financial need 

Knowing the detrimental effects of the economic and social impacts of the pandemic, NEF conducted a rapid needs assessment in April 2020. We sought to better understand the impacts of COVID-19 on vulnerable entrepreneurs in the communities where we work and to identify the best options for supporting their adaptation and recovery. 

NEF has established a COVID-19 Adaptation and Recovery Programbased on the needs identified in the assessment. The program offers a suite of targeted interventions to help vulnerable entrepreneurs ensure business continuity, rapid adaptation, and enterprise resilience. More than 700 entrepreneurs who have graduated from NEF’s enterprise program in the past five years have already been identified to be in need of these servicesWe are actively seeking funding partners to support this initiative. 

For more information NEF’s COVID-19 Adaptation and Recovery Program, contact Andrea Crowley, NEF Director of Partnerships and Philanthropy  at  

Donate below to support NEF’s COVID-19 Adaptation and Recovery Program:


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