Wednesday, October 6, 2010

UN World Food Programme Philippines introduces mobile phone-based cash disbursement via Globe G-CASH

As part of its drive to find innovative solutions to hunger worldwide the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) is partnering with Globe GCASH mobile technology platform for fast, secure and low-cost delivery of its financial assistance to Ondoy and Pepeng typhoon-affected communities in the Philippines, in metropolitan Manila and in Northern Luzon.

WFP is piloting a mobile phone-based cash disbursement service for its Cash-For-Work (CFW) programme beneficiaries. The CFW programme is a cash transfer endeavour designed to assist the rehabilitation of disaster-affected communities in Luzon.

Through CFW, WFP together with Globe and its key partners, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and NGO, Community Family Services International (CFSI), aims to bridge communities and rebuild lives by supporting community-driven rehabilitation projects. The cash is intended to enhance the purchasing power of families for essential and complementary food items that would improve the overall food security and nutritional status of disadvantaged Filipinos.

This innovative approach to early recovery and disaster rehabilitation and preparedness will use Globe GCASH electronic mobile money transfer system to enable Globe and TM subscribers in identified affected areas access to incentives provided by WFP through a simple text message.

Globe SIM cards will be distributed to beneficiaries for free in October through community awareness campaigns on how to use GCASH in order for the participants to receive their entitlements by either cashing out money at any of the 18,000 GCASH outlets nationwide or by using it directly at accredited GCASH establishments.

“We are very pleased with our partnership with Globe,” said Mr. Stephen Anderson, WFP Philippines Country Director and Representative. “Their support in providing a mobile-phone based cash disbursement service for our pilot Cash-For-Work programme is not only a first in the Philippines, but a first for WFP’s operations in Southeast Asia,” he said.

Of the 35,000 households targeted by WFP in the overall CFW pilot programme in the National Capital Region, Region IV-A and the Cordillera Administrative Region, 2,000 indigent households will be reached through Globe GCASH distribution in selected areas in Metro Manila and surrounding urban vicinities. These areas were also served by Globe through its Bangon Pinoy program which was launched last year to provide relief operations, financial assistance, network restoration and a series of community-building activities to places severely hit by calamities.

In line with DSWD’s guidelines for cash-for-work programs and enhancing the ongoing early recovery Food-for-Work programme which started in April 2010, WFP’s CFW pilot is expected to serve 175,000 flood-affected beneficiaries for the project’s four month duration until November 2010.

Through this revolutionary and efficient method of delivering humanitarian assistance via mobile technology—a strategy that makes sense in the “Texting Capital of the World”, DSWD and WFP will be ensured of a transparent and accountable means of sending money directly to the disaster-affected households and a real-time monitoring of cash disbursement.

To date, WFP has assisted over one million typhoon-affected households in Luzon through combined emergency relief and early reconstruction and rehabilitation activities.

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