Adolescent Empowerment, Biometric Technology, G2P Payments – Top Picks of the Microfinance Blogosphere

> Posted by Center Staff

With so much activity in the financial inclusion sphere these days, Top Picks had plenty of great blogs to consider sharing this week. Three posts stood out to us though, covering the areas of adolescent empowerment, new biometric identification technology research, and electronic government-to-person (G2P) payments.

  • Adolescent women in Uganda are improving their economic situation and are living healthier lives, thanks to BRAC Uganda’s Empowerment and Livelihood for Adolescents ELA Program. A new post on the Kiva blog shares the results from an independent impact study revealing that the ELA program is attaining significant success. The program results in a 35 percent increase in likelihood that an adolescent girl would be engaged in an income-generating activity, a 13 percent increase in condom use among sexually active participants, and an 83 percent decrease in participants’ reports of having sex unwillingly. Over 40,000 women have been reached by the program. Kiva offers loans to program participants.
  • Technological advancements have helped reduce the global identification gap by about 1.2 billion people, a new Center for Global Development (CGD) paper estimates. Highlighted on the CGD Blog, the paper incorporated 160 cases of biometric technology being used in low-middle income countries. Largely, the programs’ successes were contingent on human rather than technological performance, the paper found. A few weeks ago we blogged about a story on a new financial service launched by the Delhi government, which extends banking services that use accessible customer identification components: a 12-digit ID number, and demographic and biometric information.
  • A new Financial Access Initiative Blog post from Jamie Zimmerman of the New America Foundation outlines the opportunity for, and offers guidance on utilizing electronic government-to-person (G2P) payments to boost financial inclusion and improve economic well-being. About 500 million people are affected by G2P payments, and the digitization and inclusive delivery of these payments is expanding rapidly. The post cites statistics on the prevalence of these inclusive delivery methods – which include cash cards, mobile phones, and bank accounts – and impresses the importance of developing payment programs that recognize the social and political dynamics inherent in government-to-person payment systems.

Image credit: Ianf