Five Ways Digital Payments Are Coming to the Rescue in Emergencies – Huffington Post

Mobile wallets also stopped double payments and streamlined payments, saving the country more than US$10 million. That’s enough to fund the country’s healthcare program that serves 1.4 million children and 250,000 pregnant women each year. The experience of Sierra Leone and other members of the Better Than Cash Alliance – a UN-hosted partnership of governments, companies, and international organizations that accelerates the transition from cash to digital payments – offers a lesson for other governments: Invest in a solid mobile payment infrastructure before the next crisis strikes.

2. Iris Scans: Easing the Burden on Syrian Refugees
More than 4.7 million Syrians refugees are on the move. Neighboring countries such as Jordan now house more than 640,000 refugees. Jordan was the first country in the world to use iris scan technology to enable refugees to access monthly cash assistance provided by The UN Refugee Agency. This year, the World Food Programme started using the same technology to allow Syrian refugees living in camps to purchase food items from local shops and plans to expand the project into new camps, including the largest camp, Za’atari.

3. E-vouchers: Modernizing Food Aid in Afghanistan
Following decades of emergencies and conflicts in Afghanistan, the World Food Programme made the transition to electronic vouchers in 2014, instead of paper vouchers, to make food aid distribution more efficient and secure. This pilot e-voucher program was designed for people with low levels of literacy, including many women in Afghanistan. More than 70,000 beneficiaries are now receiving their stipends via e-voucher through mobile phones. The program has achieved impressive results and helped further financial inclusion among poor communities. One hundred percent of participants surveyed reported a seamless customer experience redeeming their e-vouchers at local stores, according to a new UN report. In addition, the government of Afghanistan is now expanding mobile money payments for salaries.

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