The mobile cash transfer system which has been implemented by the World Food Programme (WFP) and Globe Telecom for disaster-affected communities in Metro Manila and Luzon now becomes a benchmark for other WFP operations worldwide.
“During the WFP global meeting of country directors in Switzerland, WFP Philippines was asked to present our experience in implementing the mobile cash transfer. This partnership and technology became a benchmark or model to other WFP operations around the world,” said Asaka Nyangara, WFP Deputy Country Director for the Philippines in a speech delivered during the Globe Bridging Communities Partners’ Night recently.
WFP has tapped Globe through its GCASH mobile technology platform for fast, secure and low-cost delivery of financial assistance to families severely affected by previous typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng. The innovative partnership which provides a mobile phone-based cash disbursement service under the WFP Cash-for-Work Programme is not only a first in the Philippines, but a first for WFP’s operations in Southeast Asia.
WFP is also looking at the possibility of implementing Cash-for-Work using Globe GCASH to help get communities devastated by Typhoon Sendong back on their feet as quickly as possible. Currently, WFP in partnership with the Department of Social Welfare and Development, is conducting relief and early recovery operations in Cagayan de Oro, Iligan, and parts of Lanao del Sur while Globe has its own disaster relief operations such as Libreng Tawag, Libreng Internet, and relief goods distributions in the said areas.
Although the traditional means of providing Cash-For-Work assistance is through direct cash hand-outs, it lacks the well-designed control and monitoring mechanism of Globe GCASH that would ensure that the money will go to the intended beneficiary. Through Globe GCASH, money is transferred to the recipient’s cell phone via a text message. The amount can be claimed at any of 18,000 participating corner shops.
“We are very pleased with our partnership with Globe because they have allowed us to discover new and efficient ways of providing assistance to families and they have greatly supported our efforts 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,” said Nyangara.
He added: “Globe was prompt in responding to WFP’s request for collaboration and to our operational requirement. Throughout the project, Globe handled its responsibilities with professionalism but also with a view to improving their own services and meeting the needs of the poorest sectors of society.”
WFP is the world’s largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide. In the Philippines, it has been working since 2006 in partnership with DSWD in assisting food-insecure communities in conflict-affected areas of Mindanao. In October 2009, WFP also launched an emergency operation to provide food relief and assistance to the victims of typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng in Metro Manila and Luzon.
To improve its efficiency in delivering assistance, WFP is testing different technologies that will help facilitate its increasing use of cash to address food security needs, thus, the decision to try Globe GCASH.
“WFP hopes to expand its use of Cash-for-Work to conflict affected areas in Central Mindanao and we would like to explore further innovations that may be suitable for the context there. WFP is also very excited about this growing partnership with Globe and we hope that we can continue to work together and discover more innovative ways to restore and rebuild communities,’ said Nyangara.