This week, leading humanitarian organizations are gathering in Nairobi, Kenya, for “Cash Transfer Programming in Emergencies,” the fifth global learning event organized by the Cash Learning Partnership (CaLP).
This event brings together humanitarian professionals to share experiences and best practices in delivering cash in emergencies, with a particular focus on the role that new technologies—including digital currency—can play in improving the delivery of money. Technologies like prepaid cards to deliver money to flood victims in Pakistan; money delivered by mobile phone in Haiti for earthquake survivors to pay for recovery work; and codes delivered by mobile phone to use for purchasing food in the Philippines.
Building upon our existing partnership with the CaLP, Visa participated in today’s event to share our experiences and insights in electronifying the distribution of money, both in times of emergency and through non-emergency social development programs, including:
- In the Dominican Republic, Visa has helped the government’s Social Subsidies Administration electronify the distribution of money through the Solidaridad Visa card, allowing more than 800,000 people to receive critical benefits like unemployment, nutrition assistance, and help for the elderly.
- In 2010 after catastrophic flooding impacted 20 million people, Visa and our partner financial institutions helped the government of Pakistan deliver emergency cash aid via the Watan Visa prepaid debit card, reaching more than 2 million families and ensuring that flood victims received financial help quickly and securely
As Visa shared today in Nairobi, there are a number of challenges and opportunities to address, including:
- Infrastructure: advancing the digital currency infrastructure needed to enable electronic delivery of cash ahead of when emergencies occur rather than deploying it during a crisis situation
- Collaboration: enhancing the collaboration between the global development and humanitarian communities to advance the mutually-beneficial objectives of financial inclusion and enhanced humanitarian support, as well as incorporating a role for the private sector who can help these responses scale and be sustainable
- Education: ensuring that the beneficiaries of these programs, often unfamiliar with digital currency, receive their benefits along with the education required to understand and use them
As the humanitarian community increases its use of programs that deliver cash in place of physical goods, we are committed to helping this community bring the distribution of aid payments into the 21st century. Because at the end of the day, it is about working together to help those impacted restore their lives.
Posted by: Douglas Sabo, Visa Corporate Responsibility on November 18, 2011 at 9:19 am