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Innovating for Humanity: Mobile Technology Brings Relief to Indonesians in Midst of Drought

Across the globe, 130 million people require humanitarian assistance in order to survive. To help address this massive need, Mastercard partners with UN agencies and NGOs around the world to provide technology such as the Mastercard Aid Network,  Mastercard prepaid cards and Mastercard Send for Disbursements to improve the distribution of aid to refugees, internally displaced persons (IDPs) and those in impoverished and disaster-affected communities.

For millions of people on the planet, access to clean water and sanitation is a basic necessity that they simply cannot afford, yet it can provide the ultimate link to economic empowerment. For many Indonesians, water sources are distant, contaminated or expensive. Mastercard and the American Red Cross are working together to alleviate this problem by distributing funds to families in Indonesia via their mobile phones for the purchase of water and other items during the drought season.

Using Mastercard Send, the program has provided a safe and convenient way for beneficiaries to access aid, and receiving digital funds gives them the control and flexibility to spend that money on what they need most.

On World Humanitarian Day, Mastercard is proud to share stories of four families in Bekasi, Indonesia who have used their aid money to purchase clean drinking water, groceries, hygiene supplies, and even help pay for their children’s education:

Photo credit: Otto Ferdinand/American Red Cross

Photo credit: Otto Ferdinand/American Red Cross

Jaiyah (pictured right), an entrepreneur and mother of two, sells snacks to a friend in Bekasi, Indonesia. Like many women in her neighborhood, Jaiyah has trouble accessing clean drinking water and has to buy all the water she drinks in bottles and jugs. To help her through a particularly difficult stretch, she received digital funds (about $67 USD) to purchase water, groceries, and inventory for her store, which, as she pointed out, would help increase her income, enabling her to buy even more water in the future. Jaiyah had never received money via mobile phone before, but was satisfied with the extra layer of safety, saying, “If the money is on a SIM card, I’m the only one who can see it’s there. And I’m the only one who knows it’s there.”

Lusi-1

Photo credit: Otto Ferdinand/American Red Cross

Lusi and her husband are barely getting by on the income he makes cleaning air conditioners. Buying water every week is an expensive proposition. But they do it because they’re determined to keep their children— including 3-year old, Abidzar (pictured here)—hydrated and healthy. Lusi recently received two digital cash transfers via mobile phone. She chose to use the funds to buy water, diapers, baby formula, and school uniforms.

Widea-1

Photo Credit: Otto Ferdinand/American Red Cross

Widea, a recent high school graduate, (pictured right) uses her phone to text friends and take photos. Now she can add something new to that list: buying essentials for her parents. Unfortunately, Widea and her family don’t have access to potable water at home. She used the digital funds transferred via mobile phone to purchase water, rice, and hygiene supplies like soap, toothpaste, and toothbrushes. As Widea says, “Sometimes families receive goods they might not use. Cash allows people to buy what they need.”

Photo Credit: Otto Ferdinand/American Red Cross

Photo Credit: Otto Ferdinand/American Red Cross

Essentials like rice, cooking oil, and clean drinking water aren’t always easy to afford for Ayumi, a resident of the Teluk Pucung neighborhood in Indonesia. Ayumi recently received digital funds on her son’s phone and decided to spend the money on water, food, and exam fees for her grandson. Ayumi appreciates the extra help in the form of digital cash–rather than in-kind goods–because it allows her to decide which expenses to prioritize.