Tuesday, June 21, 2016

"M-money as Conduit for Conditional Cash Transfers in the Philippines" in ITID Special Issue

Erwin A. Alampay and Charlie Cabotaje have a new article, "M-money as Conduit for Conditional Cash Transfers in the Philippines", published in Information Technologies & International Development (ITID)'s Summer 2016 Special Issue CPRsouth.  

This special issue CPRsouth (Communication Policy Research South) — guest-edited by Alison Gillwald — features articles that examine challenges facing ICTs in a range of countries in the Global South from diverse perspectives. In the context of the Global South, and Africa in particular, although prepaid mobile communications services have largely driven connectivity, public-interest research in areas of ICT policy has so far been limited and the simple transposition of “best practice” from the Northern hemisphere have often failed to procure desired outcomes. The collection of articles in this special issue examine how the deployment of new services, apps, improved methodologies, or governance frameworks could contribute to more inclusive, locally appropriate and effective regulation that enhance well-being, livelihoods, democracy, and economic participation. Following the theme of the CPRsouth 2014 Conference on What works, why and how do we know?, the articles seek to understand how governments and enterprises, particularly in developing countries, can effectively use ICTs to meet broader socioeconomic objectives and poverty-reduction strategies. The entire collection of articles published on June 10, 2016 is accessible at http://itidjournal.org.

Of special interest in the issue is the article by Erwin A. Alampay and Charlie Cabotajebased on their research funded by IMTFI:
"M-money as Conduit for Conditional Cash Transfers in the Philippines", Information Technologies & International Development [Special Issue], 12(2), pp. 1-12. 

Article Abstract
Many developing countries provide conditional cash transfers (CCTs) for their poorest families. In the Philippines, CCT use has expanded rapidly such that in five years the amount of transfers increased by 3,300%, with PHP34 billion (US$801 million) disbursed in 2013. This expansion of deliveries has complicated government logistics. In an effort to reach the poor in all areas of the country, the government partnered with the telecommunication firm Globe’s network of GCash merchants to provide direct cash payouts to CCT beneficiaries. This article investigates the CCT implementation through the cash-based GCash Remit system to determine its effectiveness, efficiency, and security. A cost comparison was done between the GCash Remit mode of CCT delivery and the potential use of noncash mobile money (m-money) platforms already in the market. The study is based on field observations, a randomized survey of 194 CCT beneficiaries, interviews with CCT program implementers and m-money providers, and scrutiny of the tariff data of m-money providers.The full article can be accessed here.

Dissemination Event 
Erwin A. Alampay and Charlie Cabotaje disseminated findings of their study at the event held last week: "mBOP: The Impact of Mobile Financial Services in the bottom of the pyramid" (June 17, 2016). The event brought together cash transfer agencies, NGOs and other stakeholders including banking associations, USAID, Oxfam, Save the Children, and DSWD, Land Bank. Another successful example of researchers influencing policy, congratulations!

Photo credit: Charlie E. Cabotaje

Read more about Alampay and Cabotaje's IMTFI research here. And check out their IMTFI research-related blogposts:
"Conditional Cash Transfers in the Philippines (part 2 of 3)"
"Leveraging conditional cash transfers to develop local mobile money ecosystems (part 3 of 3)"

Monday, June 13, 2016

Hearthholds of Mobile Money in Western Kenya

New Article in Economic Anthropology by Sibel Kusimba, Yang Yang, and Nitesh Chawla

Cleophas Family
This sociogram is centered around Alice, a 73-year-old grandmother, and her cowives, Suzzanah,Diana, Rachel, and Zipporah (all in purple), who live approximately 20 kilometers south of Bungoma. Her deceased husband had several other wives. Alice’s children are in red, and her grandchildren (thin borders) are in green, orange, light blue, and yellow. Zipporah’s children are in light purple and blue. In-laws and friends are in white. (Fig 2, p. 270)

Article Abstract
"Kenyans use mobile money services to transfer money to friends and relatives via mobile phone text messaging. Kenya’s M-Pesa is one of the most successful examples of digital money for financial inclusion. This article uses social network analysis and ethnographic information to examine ties to and through women in 12 mobile money transfer networks of kin, drawn from field data collected in 2012, 2013, and 2014. The social networks are based on reciprocal and dense ties among siblings and parents, especially mothers. Men participate equally in social networks, but as brothers and mother’s brothers more often than as fathers. The matrilineal ties of mobile money circulate value within the hearthhold (Ekejiuba 2005) of women, their children, and others connected to them. Using remittances, families negotiate investments in household farming or work, education, and migration. Money sending supports the diverse economic strategies, flexible kinship ties, and mobility of hearthholds. Gifts of e-money are said to express a natural love and caring among mothers and siblings and are often private and personal. Consequently, the money circulations of the hearthhold avoid disrupting widely shared ideals of patrilineal solidarity and household autonomy."
Economic Anthropology 2016; 3: 266-279

The full article can be accessed here

Read more about Sibel Kusimba's IMTFI research here and here

To learn more about Sibel Kusimba's use of social network analysis as an ethnographic method, see her case study featured in the Consumer Finance Research Methods Toolkit, pp. 35-40, (Verbal Interviews)