Delivering Hope Worldwide
Sometimes prepaid provides more than rewards—it provides relief.
A tornado leaves hundreds of homeless families in its wake; civil unrest drives frightened families from their country; an earthquake crumbles buildings and the dreams of thousands; a tsunami washes away the hopes of an entire city.
At daVinci, our ability to leverage our prepaid platforms for corporate incentives and rewards is well established. But we also utilize our platforms to help nonprofit organizations make a difference in the lives of people caught in natural disasters, civil unrest and war-torn environments. This year, we worked with Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and the Red Cross to provide secure funds to those in the most desperate situations.
daVinci worked with CRS to provide emergency relief to families torn apart by the civil war conflicts in Syria. As a result of intense and prolonged fighting that started in 2011, many Syrians have fled their homeland to seek refuge and shelter in neighboring countries such as Jordan. Once these refugees had jobs, security and comfort. But now many have nothing—their possessions abandoned along with their former lives.
Some of these newly homeless refugees escaped to refugee camps but many more are in desperate need of daily necessities such as medical care, food and money to pay rent. Syrian refugees are not legally permitted to work in Jordan and housing is at a premium.
Delivering funds to these expatriates poses significant challenges. Fortunately, we can help. CRS provides rental subsidies to Syrian refugees in the form of prepaid cards. The funds provide immediate monetary relief, so they can focus on buying medicine and food, instead of worrying about keeping a roof over their heads. Prepaid cards are the most secure form of payment the refugees can receive, and direct access to ATMs is critical in their environment. Previously, CRS was disbursing rental subsidies through a partnered social service agency, however, some landlords were not receptive to receiving funds from social services. Now Syrian refugees can pay their landlords personally, with cash in-hand. To them, these cards represent dignity and survival.
daVinci also maintains a close relationship with the Red Cross, one that promises to bring faster relief across the globe for their humanitarian missions. For example, five years ago Haitian financial emergency assistance was laborious. It included vetting and contracting a service provider, developing related procedures, training staff and more. As a result, emergency assistance was often significantly delayed. With daVinci’s help, however, such assistance will now be available almost immediately.
daVinci has worked with the International Federation of Red Cross (IFRC) to create a framework to set the necessary procedures in place to deliver prepaid cards in times of national emergencies, including specific processes for field-based disaster managers, finance and logistics personnel, and more. The spend can be restricted as needed, such as to buy groceries or building materials. The IFRC will have complete control of the prepaid card system, from ordering and activation, to tracking and controlling user permissions. We recognize that security is vital and oversight is needed. Our system gives corporate and regional offices final approval before funding is actually made, including setting limits and issuing daily reports, so that funds are distributed accurately, consistently and honestly.
An initial pilot program was completed in Panama, and a new pilot program has recently launched in Jamaica. daVinci and the IFRC are confident that these new processes will soon be used across the world. By eliminating traditional relief burdens, both financial and administrative, the IFRC will now be able to provide assistance to communities affected by disaster more quickly and efficiently than ever before. In a world where time sensitive delivery helps save lives, prepaid is bringing hope back into the lives of many families.
Disaster relief programs are complex and typically offer many services to aid recipients. While prepaid is an excellent tool for global funds disbursement, it is not an all-encompassing replacement for relief services. It’s meant to function as an optional payment vehicle, when appropriate, to ensure those in need receive financial assistance when they need it most.