As you read this, thousands of refugees are just making for land on the island of Lesbos on the Aegean Sea off the coast of Greece. And the image of a young Syrian man rhythmically leading protests at the Budapest train station is still firmly etched in my mind. The stories of refugees in the media have been mostly ones of tragedy. It seems, however, that there may also be an opportunity for developing cash transfer solutions in the midst of such human tragedy. This is in part to the work of ELAN, or the Electronic Cash Transfer Learning Action Network.
ELAN, which is convened by Mercy Corps, recently published a 16-page report that sheds light on how cash transfer can be enabled for refugees. Thanks in part to the growing use of technology, money transfer for refugee populations has been growing. The report mentions the World Food Program who have seen their cash and voucher program grow from US$ 10 million to US$ 837 million in the five years since 2009.
ELAN proposes that the alliance between technology and the private sector can be brought together to make