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What has the ELAN been up to?

The  Electronic Cash Transfer Learning Action Network (ELAN) aims to improve how electronic cash and electronic vouchers are used to assist survivors of natural disasters and conflict.This article by Lily Frey provides an insight on the key developments in each of the four work stream areas of ELAN over the past six months.

Since its launch at the end of February, the Electronic Cash Transfer Learning Action Network (ELAN) has worked to combine the expertise of its diverse members to advance dialogue, learning and practice for electronic transfers. The ELAN seeks to improve the effectiveness of humanitarian cash transfer programming through the appropriate use of electronic payments technology. The network is organized around four work streams and provides field support and information sharing opportunities for members. Below you will find an update on the network’s key developments in each of these four work stream areas over the past six months.

Work stream updates

  • E-vouchers

Technology providers met with humanitarian staff to discuss the key needs for electronic voucher systems in February. This group mapped critical features of e-voucher products and prioritized areas of investment to improve e-vouchers. Participants also discussed features of successful partnerships from humanitarian and private sector perspectives.

Check out the inspiration brief created from this meeting.

  • E-cash

To gain a sense of the key challenges facing e-cash deployments, the ELAN conducted interviews with e-cash program managers from a variety of countries and contexts. The interviews focused on features of successful partnerships with Financial Service Providers (FSPs). Stay tuned for the publication of these findings in the coming weeks. The ELAN will use the research findings (and this NetHope study on mobile money bulk payments) to engage private sector partners to discuss the business case for developing products and services to support humanitarian programming.

  • Pathways to financial inclusion

The ELAN produced a primer on financial services for humanitarian users to build a shared understanding of financial inclusion concepts and opportunities to link financial services through cash programming. As a next step, the ELAN will explore existing program evidence to see which pathways from electronic payments to additional financial services are most successful and which may require more research or testing.

 

  • Data management and protection

Building on the CaLP Principles and Operational Standards for the secure use of personal data, the ELAN will produce tip sheets to complement and detail some important concepts within data management and protection. The ELAN also plans to review data management and protection practices in an e-transfer program to share learning with members in a case study format.  

Field support

Since February, the ELAN has fielded 17 questions from a variety of organizations relating to e-transfer resources, evidence or technical issues. Send an email to Sara or Lily (contact information below) if you have a brief question about e-transfers.

We have also organized two webinars to share field experiences with e-transfer programs. The American Red Cross and International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) presented on their selection and testing of a card-based solution deployable throughout Latin America.

At the kickoff event, participants highlighted the greatest need for e-transfer technical support in the Middle East, particularly for the Iraq and Syria responses. In response, the ELAN organized a workshop focusing on these contexts in Erbil, Iraq in May. The workshop introduced some e-transfer concepts and considered limited access environments and provider options available in these two countries. You can read the event report here.

Get involved

All of the progress the ELAN has made over the past six months was possible because of the contributions, reviews, ideas and replies of members. Thanks to all of you who have shared your experiences, your programs, and your priorities. We look forward to continuing this productive conversation.

You can read more about the ELAN, including our strategy and theory of change, at our dedicated page on the CaLP website.

You can also sign up for updates from the network and opportunities to get involved here.

If you have other questions or suggestions for the ELAN, please contact Sara Murray (smurray@field.mercycorps.org) or Lily Frey (lfrey@mercycorps.org).

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