Mobile technology: CLP’s experience so far
CLP’s aim is to lift people living on the chars (riverine-islands) of Bangladesh out of extreme-poverty. Central to the Programme’s approach is the Asset Transfer Project (ATP). Through the ATP, CLP’s core participants receive a grant of Tk. 16,500 (around £138) with which they purchase an income-generating asset of their choice, normally cattle. Alongside this, a monthly stipend is provided to each participant for 18 months from the date their asset is purchased. In July 2012, CLP partnered with the service provider bKash and began using mobile ‘phones as a way to support and enhance the process of stipend transfer, which was previously distributed in cash.
Not only did this aim to provide a safer and more secure way of distributing and receiving stipends, it also provided char-dwellers with formal access to financial services, which are otherwise not available in char areas.
Recently the USAID-funded project mstar published a ‘snapshot’ describing CLP’s experience with bKash. CLP has seen some great benefits as a result of switching to mobile money. However, as with any new project there have also been some challenges. To find out more about how CLP transitioned from cash to mobile money transfers and the lessons learnt, read the ‘snapshot’ here:
In 2013, CLP began investigating the potential application of mobile technology in other areas of the CLP. To do so, research was conducted to evaluate the global use of mobile technology services in development programmes. Following this, a review was conducted, looking at existing products and services in Bangladesh, with a focus on five key areas. The aim was to see how feasible it would be to incorporate such services into the CLP.
The five key areas were as follows:
- Primary health care, family planning and nutrition
- Market information
- Agricultural extension: livestock and crops
- Disaster resilience: early warning systems and needs assessments
CLP noted some interesting initiatives in Bangladesh and saw scope for mobile technology to be incorporated into two areas of the CLP: primary health care, family planning and nutrition; and agricultural extension. To read a summary of CLP’s research and learn more about the Programme’s future plans regarding mobile technology, view the report here.