Social Protection Goes Digital: Lessons From an Innovative, WhatsApp-Driven Outreach Campaign in Paraguay
The COVID-19 lockdown has reshaped social policy in Paraguay, as programs that depended on face-to-face contact to reach participants suddenly found themselves unable to conduct their usual outreach. Cristina Heisecke, Carolina de Miranda and Mauricio Royg of Fundación Capital share lessons from an innovative solution to this challenge: a digital campaign that used WhatsApp to offer a remote alternative to the in-person training and coaching of the country's flagship cash transfer program.
An Overlooked Engine of Economic Growth: Delivering Products – and Enabling Livelihoods – in Refugee Communities
The Kakuma and Kalobeyei refugee camps in Kenya are home to nearly 200,000 people from 22 countries. Contrary to the stereotype of refugee settlements, these are thriving communities with around 2,500 businesses and over $56 million in economic activity per year. But as Sasha Kapadia at Mastercard points out, their economic growth is stifled by a lack of reliable electricity. She discusses a public-private partnership co-chaired by Mastercard and USAID, which is training people in these communities as sales agents for solar energy products, to spur entrepreneurship and boost access to energy and other essential products.
A Silver Lining During the Pandemic: Three Financial Inclusion Success Stories in the Age of COVID-19
COVID-19 has had a dramatic negative impact on businesses across practically all sectors. When it comes to financial inclusion, the pandemic has sparked concerns about a widening digital divide, rising gender inequality, growing skepticism over informal financial practices, and the risk of overlooking financially vulnerable customers. But as Anshul Saxena at MSC points out, the crisis has also generated some encouraging success stories. He highlights three businesses that have found ways to thrive during the pandemic.
Innovation for Adaptation: How a New Fund Is Helping Service Providers Navigate the Challenges of COVID-19
The impact of COVID-19 has been amplified at the local level in Kenya and Rwanda, where non-profit service providers working with vulnerable populations are finding it more difficult to support their beneficiaries. Michael Kiema and Linda Ndungu Wambua at Instiglio explore learnings from the COVID-19 Adaptation Fund, which is providing funding to nine qualifying service providers to help them implement innovations that will support their efforts to serve beneficiaries during the pandemic.
Financial Inclusion During – and After – COVID-19: Three Takeaways From a (Very Different) European Microfinance Week 2020
The 2020 European Microfinance Week encapsulated much about the financial inclusion sector – the good, the bad and the simply confusing – as it navigated the historic challenges of the past year. Sam Mendelson at e-MFP shares three broad takeaways from the event, representing three key priorities for the inclusive finance industry as it seeks to adapt to the COVID-19 crisis – without overlooking other essential priorities.
Press Release: Ethiopian Ministry of Science and Higher Education Partners With Intellimedia Networks to Continue to Digitally Transform the Ethiopian Higher Education and Vocational Training Sector
The Ethiopian Ministry of Science and Higher Education (MoSHE) agrees to join forces with IntelliMedia Networks Inc. and its local partners Andalem Consulting PLC and United Systems Integrators, to enable a country-wide online learning platform to streamline access to higher learning across Ethiopia and improve quality of education and training for undergraduate and graduate students.
- Sub-Saharan Africa
The COVID-19 pandemic has imposed catastrophic consequences across the world, with a disproportionate effect on Latin America and the Caribbean. With a projected 9 percent contraction in regional gross domestic product (GDP) for this year, experts fear that the heightened economic uncertainty and lower foreign demand brought on by the health crisis might signify yet another lost decade for Latin America. There is one factor, however, that paints a particularly promising picture for the outlook of the region: remittances.
- Latin America
For the past year, Cenfri and Finmark Trust have been partnering with NextBillion to share insights from their Insight2Impact (i2i) initiative, a five-year program that has sought to improve financial inclusion and related public policies through the smarter use of data. As the Openi2i Series concludes, i2i lead Hennie Bester takes a look back at the program and the learnings it has generated. In this interview, he explores how digitalisation and data are transforming the policy landscape in Africa and beyond.