By Shiela Bertillo
PayMaya Philippines Inc., a financial technology (fintech) firm, recently announced its partnership with the Oxford Committee for Famine Relief (Oxfam), a British-based international charity organization, to develop a program that facilitates the disbursement of digital cash transfers to PayMaya accounts by residents of the town of Salcedo, Eastern Samar. It’s an initiative that combines disaster preparedness, weather forecasting and financial technology.
This collaboration called “Building Resilient Adaptive and Disaster Ready Communities,” allows the beneficiary to claim cash by a PayMaya card powered by PayMaya where Oxfam disburses the funds that can be used to prepare for any upcoming disaster.
The program uses smart data that functions as an early warning system to enable the recipients to prepare for an incoming disaster, Shailesh Baidwan, PayMaya Philippines President stated.
This will allow the beneficiaries to use the funds to buy essentials at local PayMaya QR and card-enabled merchants or for telco load and utility bills via the PayMaya app.
Moreover, residents can also cash out funds through Smart Padala outlets in their communities. (Read More: PayMaya Comments on Unauthorized Transactions)
“During disasters, time is of the essence. People cannot wait. That’s why anticipatory actions are necessary so our people can stockpile essentials and secure their assets,” Salcedo Mayor Melchor L. Mergal said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Barangay Captain Eduardo E. Ogalino of Butig, Salcedo , said the community members use the anticipatory relief on rice and other food items before the prices increase.
“Three days before the typhoon comes, we have received the digital cash transfer,” Ogalino added.
Niña Abogado, senior manager for programs and partnerships of Oxfam’s Philippines operations explained the importance of the program, stating; “Digital cash transfers are more appropriate because the most vulnerable communities do not have access to banks and traditional remittance companies. Everyone owns a phone, making mobile wallets suitable for a humanitarian cash disbursement program.”
“Using digital cash transfers streamline the system for humanitarian efforts of the government, NGOs (non government organizations) and private sector partners, resulting in a more cost-effective, high impact delivery of aid,” Baidwan said.
Baidwan also noted how receiving financial assistance directly to the beneficiaries’ PayMaya accounts “gives them the capability to determine how to best use the funds for their own needs. It adds dignity to the social aid process.”
Currently, the program has benefitted 1,975 households in Salcedo. Digital cash transfers are a central part of the intervention, but it is not the only component. Oxfam calls it the project that “bridges the gap between typhoon preparedness and financial inclusion.”
According to PayMaya, the program was created after the onslaught of Super Typhoon Yolanda.
Recently, PayMaya expanded its contact points to more than 90,000 cash-in outlets across the country catering to the several unbanked Filipinos amid the pandemic. (Read more on: PayMaya Expands Cash-in Touchpoints Nationwide)
This article is published on BitPInas: PayMaya Partners with Oxfam for Charity