Leading the Industry in Global E-Payments Programming
Humanitarian aid organizations want to reach those affected by disasters and provide emergency aid funds quickly, efficiently, safely and transparently. They are increasingly interested in the potential of mobile technology, but depending on local infrastructure and mobile penetration it has often proven difficult to utilize, and most e-transfer deployments are still tested as smaller-scale pilots.
Mercy Corps partnered with the Center for Inclusive Growth to test and evaluate different types of mobile voucher distributions in Nepal and the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2014. Lessons learned from this programming were applied to Mercy Corps’ other cash transfer programs and resulted in two publications for use within the humanitarian community:
- E-Payments Implementation Guide for aid organizations looking to implement e-cash relief programs
- Cheaper, Faster, Better? A case study of new technologies in cash transfers from the Democratic Republic of Congo, which is the first study to directly compare the cost-effectiveness of different electronic cash delivery approaches within the same program
As a follow-on to this work, in partnership with MasterCard, Mercy Corps is convening an E-Transfers Learning Action Network (E-LAN) of humanitarian and private actors to coordinate, collaborate, share learning and leverage collective demand around e-transfer solutions. There are three goals for this program:
- Equip humanitarian actors with tools to successfully manage specific e-transfer challenges;
- Engage private sector actors to develop appropriate e-transfer products that meet the needs of humanitarian agencies; and
- Support low-risk experimentation with e-transfers by providing linkages and advice on available service providers and technical experts.