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Can e-transfers promote financial inclusion in emergencies: A case study from Bangladesh

The Electronic Cash Transfer Learning Action Network (ELAN) launched research to build an evidence base around connecting emergency electronic transfer (e-transfer) recipients with additional financial services. They wanted to learn if, when, and how e-transfers can promote sustained uptake and use of e-transfer services including mobile money.

This case study explores two humanitarian assistance projects implemented by Action Contre La Faim (ACF) in two districts in Bangladesh during 2015 and 2016. The programs provided humanitarian cash assistance to communities affected by severe flooding, with one focused on risk mitigation and the other on emergency relief. In each program, cash was transferred electronically via mobile wallets (although some recipients received their first transfer manually.) ACF chose the e-transfer mechanism to reduce cash handling risks, improve transparency, and reduce leakage. They also wanted to provide flexibility to recipients to withdraw the cash from their mobile wallet (cash-out) where and when needed. E-transfers were used only to improve the process.

There was no specific intent during ACF’s project design or implementation to link e-transfer recipients to additional financial services or to encourage continued use of the SIM and mobile wallet after the project’s end.

Date: February 3rd 2017

Author: Marcella Willis

Language: english