Groups combine weather forecast, digital finance to save lives

This is a press release from Oxfam in the Philippines.

Humanitarian actors in the Philippines, together with the private sector, launched an innovation that combines weather parametric forecasting and financial technologies in disaster response.

The project – “Building Resilient Adaptive and Disaster Ready Communities” (B-Ready) – was piloted in Salcedo town in Eastern Samar on Tuesday, March 26.

The innovation, which is based on smart data early warning system developed by Global Parametrics, paves the way for the immediate and safe delivery of cash to households prior to a disaster.

Accessing finance and building community-based cashless ecosystem will be strengthened by the project in partnership with PayMaya and Smart Padala, which will give target households immediate access to aid.

The project will focus on households with women, children, persons with disability, and elderly and other vulnerable groups living in poverty and high exposure to typhoon hazards.

Esteban Masagca, People’s Disaster Risk Reduction Network (PDRRN) Executive Director, said resilience and preparedness are the first lines of defense for communities in disaster-prone areas.

“Through pre-disaster cash transfer and informed preparedness planning, communities will have the necessary time and resources to protect themselves and minimize damages to livelihoods and infrastructures,” Masagca said.

Lot Felizco, Oxfam in the Philippines Country Director, said the lack of disaster preparedness often stems from the absence of access to financial resources.

To address this, Felizco said  women will be given training on financial literacy and that  community savings groups would be organized.

“Vulnerable groups particularly women often bear the brunt of climate shocks. This is why we ensure that women are at the heart of what we do and have access to financial services that can support their families in times of disasters,” Felizco said.

The B-Ready project, which is supported by the Dutch Relief Alliance, will target 2,000 vulnerable households in 7 coastal communities in Salcedo town in the next two years.

It is jointly implemented by Oxfam Novib, Oxfam in the Philippines, PDRRN, PLAN International, PayMaya, Smart Padala, Climbs, Global Parametrics, and the Salcedo municipal government.

The project was built on the lessons learned from previous humanitarian cash transfer programs during Super Typhoon Yolanda and the Marawi crisis, which pioneered affordable digital financial services for poor communities in the Philippines. – Rappler.com