People living in poverty often lack access to safe, reliable ways to manage what little money they have. We work with local partners to help low-income families and enterprises gain more access to financial services. Our focus on issues such as mobile money, financial literacy and consumer awareness help make scarce resources become more secure, go further and be used more productively.
Digitizing payments to improve program efficiency
Mobile banking offers a safe, accessible alternative to cash for depositing, withdrawing, transferring and saving money. FHI 360’s training and technical assistance to four nongovernmental organizations in Bangladesh, and their transition from cash to mobile payments, resulted in digitizing about US$580,000 in payments to more than 6,100 individuals. Digital payments result in faster, more efficient disbursements to project staff, beneficiaries, stakeholders and vendors, with easier, more transparent tracking of transactions.
Improving the economic outlook for highly vulnerable people
Increasing economic opportunities for women can reduce HIV risk behaviors, but little is known about economic interventions for female sex workers, a population particularly vulnerable to HIV. Through the Accelerating Strategies for Practical Innovation and Research in Economic Strengthening (ASPIRES) project, we conducted research on the financial lives of female sex workers in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, and found strong demand for financial literacy training and access to formal finance. In response, we implemented a pilot project offering financial education, life skills and entrepreneurship training to female sex workers in Abidjan over seven weeks. A brief qualitative evaluation found participants’ reception of the pilot was overwhelmingly positive. Despite the short period of implementation, participants reported improvements in their ability to manage their finances. They also expressed intentions to open savings accounts and to diversify their income sources by investing in small enterprises. The acceptability of the pilot and early indications of success in this short time frame suggest potential for future scale-up.
USAID/U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief