Blockchain for Remittances

UNCDF with technical assistance from Amarante Consulting is partnering with Laxmi Bank, a Class “A” commercial bank and its subsidiary microfinance institution to develop suitable savings and credit products that cater to migrant Nepalis and their beneficiary families back in Nepal. The end goals are: -To direct the flow of remittances into short or long-term savings instruments and/or credit products that help generate income and assets. -To explore credit products to support out-migration costs and meet short-term consumption needs such as payment of school fees. For that purpose, UNCDF and Laxmi Bank will explore the potential of blockchain to facilitate cross border settlements to drive down costs and artificial intelligence-driven credit scoring technologies to originate and gauge customer creditworthiness. Marketing exercises that are adapted to the local context will be deployed to create the link between remittances and access to finance. UNCDF and Laxmi bank will run a pilot in early 2019 for four months. The goal for the pilot is to enrol 400 savings and credit customers, at least 40% of whom are new customers for Laxmi Bank. Activity level in savings/credit accounts, end-use of credit and credit delinquencies are some of the other indicators that this pilot will aim to track. The emerging evidence from this pilot could inform potential course-corrections for a full scale-up in pilot corridors (Nepal-UAE and Nepal-Malaysia) as well as other geographies. The project’s objectives and tracking mechanisms aim to address four SDGs in particular namely poverty reduction (SDG 1), decent work and economic growth (SDG 8), reduced inequalities (SDG 10) and partnerships for the goals (SDG 17).

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February 17, 2022

Bike Ambulances to improve Emergency Obstetric Care in Rural Areas

Maternal mortality and morbidity rates remain high in Cote d’Ivoire. It is estimated that more than six women out of a thousand are dying while delivering birth, while 0.7% of the women of childbearing age have fistula in the country (MICS, 2016). While the strengthening of the health system is taking place, women in the country, especially in the rural area, stay vulnerable to the high risk of maternal death and morbidity. From behavioral perspectives, the barriers that leads to the three delays–(1) deciding to seek care; (2) identifying and reaching a medical facility; (3) receiving adequate and appropriate treatment may include the following (Cichowitz et al., 2018): Factors related to the first delay: social norms (community prefers to deliver at home), limited transportation and health care services at night, and negative experience in hospitals in the past (lack of trust). Factors related to the second delay of reaching a medical facility: a lack of available transportation, long travel times, and perception of high medical costs (walking 36.5%, car 34.6%, bus 13.5%, and motorcycle 13.5% in case of a study in Tanzania). In this context, this rapid prototyping initiative seeks to develop a new low-cost, safe transportation for women to prevent maternal mortality and morbidity in rural areas, by tackling the barriers that often lead to delay of emergency obstetric care (EmOC). It also aims to collect and utilize the GPS data/information of the bike ambulances to enable regional hospitals and the government to make better decisions in providing care, utilize hospital ambulances efficiently, and enhance communication between the care-seeker and care-provider.
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