Billions of dollars in humanitarian cash and voucher assistance (CVA) programmes are currently delivered annually, and the humanitarian sector predicts this rapid growth will continue. Much of this assistance is delivered through digital channels, such as mobile money. Mobile money is one of the most prolific financial systems in developing countries and is, where available, the most viable option for a cash and voucher assistance (CVA) distribution mechanism. Mobile money has evolved into the leading payment platform for the digital economy in many emerging markets with 866 million registered accounts across 90 countries by the end of 2018. Its hallmark large agent networks, low price points, and easy to open accounts are all valuable features for a CVA programme.
In this webinar hosted by DFI and lead by Jenny Casswell and Belinda Baah from GMSA M4H, the question debated was what are the required conditions for mobile money to be used for cash and voucher assistance (CVA). The webinar explored research conducted in three settlements in Uganda, Rwanda and Jordan. Access and use of mobile phones and smart phones varied and nuances were identified between refugee groups and the context, which is important for understanding digitalising humanitarian assistance. For example, women are 35% less likely to use mobile money in Bidi Bidi, and Kiziba has a high use of mobile money due to use cases (can be used to pay school for example).
Understanding the context and use cases will differ in each settlement, so understanding this, the mobile money environment, and identifying the business case for both the MNO and humanaritarian organisation are vital steps. GSMA has produced a number of resources which help both organisations to identify whether a successful deployment can be achieved and guides on forming a long-term partnership.
Links to the documents mentioned during the webinar are: