NEW YORK—The United Nations Capital Development Fund has issued a request for public relations proposals to assist with a new campaign in support of the Better Than Cash initiative, which seeks to replace cash payments in developing markets with electronic alternatives.
The Better Than Cash Alliance was launched in September of 2012 and includes corporate partners such as Citi, Mastercard, and Visa, as well as nonprofits such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Ford Foundation. They are working with the United Nations to provide global advocacy for electronic payments and educate stakeholders—from governments to nonprofits to end users—about the benefits.
The Alliance says that “shifting from cash to electronic payments can provide a pathway to a broader range of financial services, and is generally safer—especially for women and girls.”
“Think about a woman who is getting emergency relief of some sort,” says Ruth Goodwin-Groen, managing director of the Better Than Cash Alliance at the UNCDF. “If she gets cash, she hands it over to a husband or father. If she receives an electronic payment, she gets the money on a card and she can hold on to it for longer.
“The whole process is much more transparent, and less open to corruption.”
The public relations effort will seek to reach governments in developing countries, and persuade them of the benefits of electronic payments; to reach businesses—those in developing markets and those with supply chains in those countries—and explain the benefits of paying their workers electronically; and to recruit development partners.
“This is an alliance of high-profile government, private sector and development partners focused on a single issue,” says Goodwin-Groen. “It’s a challenging and interesting issue. It’s a global issue. We want to find an agency partner who can think creatively about how to share success stories and reach out to key influencers.”
The initial focus will be on emerging economies in Africa and Latin America, and the Alliance says it is open to working with an individual agency with global reach, or with a network of agencies.