San Francisco — August 10, 2021 — CARE USA, a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty, today announced that it has selected Celo, an open-source blockchain ecosystem focused on making decentralized financial (DeFi) systems and tools accessible to anyone with a smartphone, and Emerging Impact, a financial services technology firm building inclusive fintech products for emerging markets, to leverage the benefits of blockchain technology for the first time in its program in Latin America.
NGOs and relief organizations are working with Celo to provide blockchain-powered aid delivery for a number of reasons. Currently, antiquated technologies and centralized systems make tracking transfers from donor to beneficiary slow and inaccurate, introducing opportunities for fraud and graft. With transactions recorded on an immutable ledger — the Celo blockchain — it is easy to trace funds from their origin to the intended recipients. No one can edit the ledger and the record of transactions is open, accessible and easily auditable.
Celo’s fully transparent blockchain technology provides quicker reconciliation, recording transactions automatically and in real-time, which allows for fast payment finality and real-time analytics that current systems do not provide. Further, because there are no financial intermediaries in this process, the high operating costs for cross border transfers and payments to individuals can be eliminated. This means that more funds can be provided to those who need it most.
In partnership with Emerging Impact, the Celo Foundation has launched a program with CARE based on digital cash and voucher assistance as a part of a broader effort championed by Celo’s Alliance for Prosperity, an ecosystem of 140+ mission-aligned organizations including nonprofits, merchants, and payment processors fostering social impact using the Celo blockchain.
CARE aims to end global poverty by specifically focusing on the critical and underserved population of women and girls. CARE International member CARE Ecuador will use Celo’s cUSD stablecoin as a voucher-based system to create a digitized process that will ensure the secure dissemination of its humanitarian aid to Ecuadorian women in need of health services. The cUSD vouchers will be disbursed through the Umoja platform developed by Emerging Impact.
Umoja’s Management Dashboard provides aid agencies an one-stop-shop to register, disburse, and monitor digital cash & voucher aid programs. The platform also provides digital wallets for program participants to receive aid, and provides a mobile point-of-sale for merchants to sell goods. Once merchants are ready to cash-out, they may withdraw their cUSD back into local fiat in their bank or mobile money account(s) without issue. Under the current method, it can take up to six days for CARE Ecuador to reconcile voucher invoices. Using Umoja CARE’s program will provide instantaneous aid settlement along with digital records of voucher transfer and service provision, saving time and money while providing immediate access to detailed voucher transfer activity.
“The benefits blockchain can provide are potentially tremendous. We’ve chosen to work with Celo not only because their technology is some of the best we’ve reviewed, but because they’ve built a thriving network of like-minded organizations,” said Christian Pennotti, Senior Director, Market Based Approaches at CARE. “This program will help deliver critical healthcare support to women in Ecuador efficiently and transparently while connecting us with other groups delivering necessary aid around the world.”
“Partners such as CARE and the Celo Foundation are essential to responsibly deploying emerging technology in the field. In the face of COVID and increasing crises due to Climate Change, it’s more important now than ever to leverage technology to scale impact,” commented Robert Greenfield, CEO of Emerging Impact. “Our hope is to transform social protection programs into ones that promote economic empowerment by providing program participants with re-usable tools to access digital financial services.”
“Working with leaders like CARE shows that Celo is the blockchain of choice for major NGOs looking for a better way to deliver aid,” said Will Le, Partner, Innovation at Celo. “As someone with roots in philanthropy who ran a cash transfer program, I’m familiar with the frictions of supplying aid using traditional centralized financial systems. I would’ve loved to have a solution like Celo and Umoja that makes delivering much-needed assistance faster, cheaper, and more transparent.”
Supported by the Celo Foundation’s Alliance for Prosperity, the CARE program has fully launched. Results are set to be announced in late 2021.
Celo is a mobile-first, open-source ecosystem of technologies, organizations and individuals that all share a common mission of building a financial system that creates the conditions for prosperity for everyone. The Celo ecosystem includes a decentralized, proof-of-stake blockchain technology stack (Celo Platform), a native asset (CELO), stablecoins (cUSD, cEUR), and the Celo Alliance for Prosperity, with over 150 organizations around the world, including Deutsche Telekom, Opera, Andreesen Horowitz, Anchorage, Coinbase, GSMA, Grameen Foundation, Prosegur, Abra, and cLabs, a service organization dedicated to growing and developing the Celo ecosystem. For more information, please visit: https://celo.org/
Founded in 1945 with the creation of the CARE Package®, CARE is a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. CARE places special focus on working alongside poor girls and women because, equipped with the proper resources, they have the power to lift whole families and entire communities out of poverty. Last year, CARE worked in over 100 countries, reaching more than 90 million people through 1,300 projects. To learn more, visit www.care.org.
About Emerging Impact
Emerging Impact (EI) empowers aid agencies & financial service providers (FSPs) to modernize financial services in emerging markets. The firm’s neobanking platform, “Umoja,” provides an open developer platform and product suite that enables aid agencies and FSPs to develop inclusive, blockchain based, fintech tools. Fintechs can use Umoja as an emerging market fiat & mobile money on/off-ramp to and from stablecoins, as well as a DeFi API to generate custody wallets and take advantage of lending protocols on-chain. Using Umoja, Emerging Impact hopes to empower Global South fintechs to provide wealth generating tools to 86% of the world’s population. To learn more, visit www.emergingimpact.com.