TACLOBAN CITY—International aid organization Oxfam, Smart Communications and PayMaya Philippines, in collaboration with the Tacloban City local government, launched a financial inclusion program aimed at making communities more resilient through mobile money and financial literacy training.
The Financial Inclusion for Tacloban Resettlement Integrated Program will build a culture of entrepreneurship and savings among 16,000 beneficiaries strengthening their communities. Three years ago, Tacloban City was among the worst-hit communities by Super Typhoon “Haiyan,” one of the strongest tropical cyclones ever recorded.
Qualified beneficiaries will receive Smart Money prepaid cards—a mobile money product of PayMaya Philippines—that can be linked to their mobile phones where they are encouraged to place P1 and above through any Smart Padala Center in Tacloban. As they load their money, they will receive real-time notifications such as available balance via SMS.
A rewards and incentives system has been put in place where participants who maintain a required average weekly balance in their Smart Money for at least a month will be rewarded with entrepreneurship package options as well as personal accident insurance.
They can choose a Smart Retailer package of a Smart retailer SIM and credits that they can use to start a mobile load business. Another choice is a sari-sari store starter set with Unilever products that they can resell as another source of income.
To ensure a more solid infrastructure for the financial inclusion program, Smart is providing financial literacy training through community-based caravans. Smart is also providing the local government with Infocast, a text messaging system, so stakeholders can disseminate much-needed information related to the finance literacy program.
“Since Typhoon Haiyan hit Tacloban, Oxfam, in partnership with national NGOs, has been working at the forefront of relief, recovery and rehabilitation efforts to support affected and displaced communities. We believe that equitable access to financial services is crucial for them to rebuild their lives and livelihoods. We are happy that Smart and PayMaya Philippines are helping us rebuild the local economy,” shared Justin Morgan, country director of Oxfam.
Tacloban City Mayor Cristina Gonzales Romualdez, said, “We are filled with gratitude that partners from private and public entities have come together to support us in restoring Tacloban until today. The majority of the residents in Tacloban do not have easy access to traditional financial institutions such as banks. We thank Oxfam, Smart and PayMaya Philippines for providing a simple, inclusive, and effective alternative that will not just encourage our citizens to embrace sustainable saving but to be more resilient through entrepreneurship so they can support themselves and their families in the years to come.”
The financial inclusion program will benefit 16,000 internally displaced persons and families in 45 coastal barangays in Tacloban City. Families with six or more members can enrol two beneficiaries aged 18 and above who belong to a vulnerable group--senior citizens, persons with disabilities, conditional cash transfer beneficiaries, single parents, child-headed families, and pregnant or nursing mothers.