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This post originally appeared in Foreign Policy’s April Issue.

Mert Tangonan was stuck. It was 2017, and Tangonan, a native of the Philippines, wanted to persuade the country’s largest banks to accept digital payments. With 99% of the transactions conducted in cash or checks across the nation’s 7,000 islands, the banks had little incentive to dive into the digital world.

Tangonan at the time served as a chief of party for Chemonics, an international development firm that hired him to lead USAID’s E-PESO Activity in the Philippines. Tapping into Chemonics’ lessons from similar projects and his deep knowledge of the Philippine banking sector, Tangonan refocused his efforts on recruiting small- and medium-sized banks, creating a critical mass of users that the larger banks could not ignore.

It worked. Now, more than 50 percent of the population uses e-commerce…Read the full story on Foreign Policy’s website here

Posts on the blog represent the views of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of Chemonics.