Port au Prince / New York, NY (PRWEB) March 01, 2012
Haitis earthquake-affected households started, this week, to receive cash installments through the first ever mobile money transfer mechanism to support post-disaster housing reconstruction.
More than 2,000 mobile money transfers are planned in the next three months to 1,000 low-income families receiving subsidies totaling US$ 500 to purchase construction materials such as cement, iron and wood at selected project-certified stores for high-quality assurance at affordable prices. The initiative is part of the Community Support Centres for House Repairs, a partnership between the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the Government of Haiti.
Commissioned by UNDP and developed by Digicel, one of the countrys largest cell phone companies, the mobile phone cash transfers are helping boost financial inclusion in Haiti, where nearly two-thirds of the population has access to mobile phones but only 10 percent have bank accounts.
Beneficiaries can also access a mobile phone checking account, which is a safer method of storing cash that also reduces financial transaction costs, improves users ability to save and helps bring more people into the formal financial sector.
Mobile phone vouchers create additional security and convenience here in Haiti, especially for women, who might feel more vulnerable when carrying large sums of money, said UNDP Haiti Senior Country Director Jessica Faieta stressing that more than 40 percent of Haitian households are led by women. With safer housing conditions, this initiative will also encourage the permanent return of camp residents to their neighborhoods and repaired homes.
The Community Support Centres, known locally by the French acronym CARMEN, have been empowering quake-affected communities in Port-au-Prince and the western town of L