How can technology provide help to those out of reach?

THURSDAY, MAY 21, 2020 08:00 PM    

While Singapore is in her 6th week of circuit breaker, some articles are shedding light on how households in developing countries are coping. Give these two articles a good read, they are really insightful.

Social protection response to COVID19

Evidence behind putting money directly into poor

A really interesting article I came across yesterday about government schemes to support the low and middle income families. This happened with the context of COVID19. I love how this article gives a lot of insights and a lot of evidence about the pros of giving cash payouts directly to the poor.

One of the interesting effects of economic shock is how families when faced with a short deep shock, desperate households often sell productive assets such as vehicles or phones which they usually use to search for work. Losing the means of earning can lead to many additional years of poverty, and temporary cash grants can help.

From a software engineer, I started to wonder:

What role can technology play in such a large scale cash payout?

In first world countries, one can easily assume that everyone has a bank account in which the government can easily just do a bank transfer. I see how technology plays such a pivotal role not just for the cash transactions, but also plays an important tole to spread the word about government initiatives, roll out good financial habits especially in desperate times. Technology can also play a major roll to spread good financial habits that can strengthen the culture of giving and prudent spending even in hard-to-reach villages or suburban areas.

Technology in any context can often create scalability and amplify efforts to curb societal issues in such magnitude that would probably take physical deployment of resources such as flyers or word of mouth years to obtain.

I thought Singapore has done really well in their financial assistance to a vast group of people. More importantly, it is heartening to see how these seemingly small cash payout are actually reaching the households, or small businesses that needs them the most. Read news article here