Digital technology is transforming the way in which the humanitarian sector responds to emergencies. Digital payments, when applied appropriately, can help ensure that those affected by crisis receive cash assistance in a way that is timelier, more reliable, secure, cost effective and inclusive.
Digital technology is also cited as instrumental to improving monitoring and evaluation systems, early warning and preparedness initiatives and assessment data collection among others
The video below from Ericsson, with IRC and OCHA, discusses the positive impact technology is having in humanitarian responses and how it can continue doing so into the future.
Digital payment mechanisms and new technology platforms are better used across CTP programs to effectively facilitate humanitarian responses at(?) scale, support access to financial inclusion and protect beneficiary privacy.
Although widely recognized as key to the expansion and improvement of cash transfer programming, the use of new technologies, specifically digital payment mechanisms, are often ineffectively and inefficiently used in humanitarian response.
In a recent survey conducted by the ELAN, 74% of members reported they were not using e-transfers (digital payment) mechanisms as often as they would like to. They cited lack of infrastructure (71%), limited product availability (62%), and limited time to research potential products as their main barriers to use (57%). Some of the main challenges inhibiting the scale up, and improved use of these technologies include:
To address these challenges, humanitarian and development actors are currently engaged in a range of ongoing initiatives aimed at expanding or improving the use of the digital payment mechanisms and new technologies in cash transfer programming.
Photo Credit: Sam Tarling, Oxfam.
CaLP, through the digital payments working group, offers a platform for coordination of partner agency efforts on the following topics:
CaLP has continued to help promote the role of new technology within cash transfers. This is highlighted through its engagement with the Electronic Cash Transfer Learning Action Network (ELAN). ELAN aims to improve the use of e-transfers and e-vouchers in emergency situations through providing information, technical support and resources.
CaLP plans to continue sharing more information related to the application of new technologies in humanitarian response on these pages. Please get in touch with us (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you would like to share any information related to this topic.
Websites, papers and articles dedicated to discussions on the use of digital technology in the humanitarian context:
For more publications on e-transfers visit our library.