Technology and Overcoming Poverty
We want to help people living in poverty improve their lives and build sustainable futures through connecting them with digitally-enabled financial tools and services.
A big part of our vision at This Is EPIC is to understand how we can harness technology and digital platforms to increase both the accessibility and impact of our Village Savings and Loans projects.
One of the constant changes experienced in the world today is the advances that technology is making on a daily basis. Many are fearful of the impact of technology but at This Is EPIC we are focused on using it as a tool and opportunity for good, to provide more and more people with access to financial services.
You may be thinking how financial services and overcoming poverty are linked. In a recent World Bank report the importance of the link between financial inclusion (access to the most basic financial services) and individuals, families and whole communities and overcoming poverty was highlighted. Recent figures indicate that there are 2.5 billion people worldwide who do not have access to formal financial services such as savings, bank accounts and credit.
At This Is EPIC we implement Village Savings and Loans projects which provide individuals, families and communities, who are suffocated by extreme poverty, with the opportunity to access informal financial services. These services include the ability to save money in a safe and accountable way, the ability to access small loans to assist with starting or growing small businesses and access to social funds for family emergencies.
Back to our vision for utilising technology and enhancing our projects. We recently met with a leading financial services organisation who specialise in digital transfers, payments and digital wallets. The fantastic news is that we are now working together to develop a digital platform that can enable us to transfer our Village Savings and Loans projects from a manual process into a digital process using mobile phones and technology.
Technology today allows us to make financial transactions cheaply and efficiently, however in many developing countries and communities this is not happening.
Digital transactions can be very inexpensive and easy, due to the pervasive nature of the mobile phone and smartphone. Mobile telecommunications and technology is changing the game in the digital transaction space and those living in poverty need access to informal financial services and access to more formal financial services to win the battle against poverty.
This is VERY exciting for us, our projects, our partners and our supporters. The Village Savings and Loans methodology is a proven process which has had (and continues to have) a positive impact on the fight against poverty. We are excited as we believe that through the right technology we can impact more people with our projects, not only that, but we can also use technology to help people transition from informal financial services to more formal financial services.
This is a fantastic opportunity to revolutionise the fight against poverty using technology and increase the pace in which poverty is being reduced on a global scale.