July 19, 2010
Looking to Cellphones to Deliver Aid in Africa
After a crisis, aid workers have found that giving a limited amount of money to the poorest people can help them buy food and weather the storm. But especially in remote or unstable places, doling out cash can be a logistical challenge. Enter the mobile phone. The WSJ reports.
Workers in Niger are testing a system that allows people to store credits on cellphones and transfer the money to vendors to buy things like millet and rice. It might sound more complicated or expensive than physically giving out money, but it doesn’t require things like armed guards and trucks regularly traveling hundreds of miles with bundles of cash.
... A non-governmental group called Concern Worldwide is testing the system in Niger and analyzing whether it actually saves aid groups money and provides other benefits to the users.
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