Dhaka, Wednesday, 06 May 2015 – A new initiative to provide financial support to underprivileged children living in urban slums through mobile cash transfer service has been launched today.
Currently, 16,000 children in 20 districts are being supported through cash support, as part of a pilot initiative 500 additional children living in the slums of Dhaka city will receive cash assistance for 18 months through mobile phone cash transfer. The initiative has been materialized by a UNICEF supported project titled “Enabling Environment for Child Rights (EECR)” which is being implemented by the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs.
These children and their families will receive BDT 2,000 per month in three instalments on fulfilling three particular commitments - children must attend school; they must be withdrawn from any form of child labour; and they must not marry before reaching the age of 18 years.
This initiative has been formalized today at Pallabi No.2 Ward Community Centre in presence of Begum Meher Afroze Chumki, MP, State Minister of Ministry of Women and Children Affairs (MoWCA); Edouard Beigbeder, UNICEF Representative and Delwar Hossain Azad, Director, Financial Services from Grameenphone.
“The journey that started with Grameenphone, the United Commercial Bank and the Government is a good example of Private Public Partnership in the realization of children’s rights in Bangladesh. This may pave way in the future to allocate more resources from the government and private sector to expand and replicate initiatives to maximise the use of technology by vulnerable groups to bring equity, “said Mr. Edouard Beigbeder, UNICEF Representative.
In order to facilitate the new initiative, Grameenphone has provided 500 connections and handsets free of cost as a pilot initiative.
Commenting on the EECR project at the launch program, Delwar Hossain Azad, Director, Financial Services of Grameenphone, said that “mobile money transfer is just one more way that mobile connectivity offers real solutions to real world problems while bringing greater accountability into the system and bridging the digital divide.” Suggesting that mobile financial services was the easiest way to usher in both user convenience and offer protection against financial fraud for unbanked communities across the country, Delwar added “Grameenphone is committed to empowering people to improve their lives with meaningful solutions that harness the power of the internet and GP’s robust 3G network.”
The initiative also encourages family based care options to keep children especially orphans or those without parental care with extended family members. The money is provided to enable caregivers to invest for income generating activities so that they can increase their economic ability to continue and sustain schooling for the child, increase their purchasing power and improve their life.