In January 2014, Mercy Corps launched the TabangKO ("my help") program to deliver emergency cash assistance to households affected by Typhoon Haiyan. Utilizing a mobile banking platform, these cash transfers were intended to help households meet their immediate needs and reestablish their livelihoods. Additionally, the program aimed to familiarize beneficiaries with secure and formal products, such as savings accounts. These forms of financial inclusion have been linked to better recovery outcomes among households affected by Typhoon Haiyan. This evaluation of the TabangKO program employed a randomized, controlled trial to explore how different cash transfer amounts would affect the use of financial resources and promote economic recovery after a natural disaster. It also examined how combining UCT's with an overview of financial concepts and a series of savings-encouraging voice messages would impact savings behavior.
- Single sum transfers, when compared to three payments of the same amount, resulted in an increased ownership of small productive assets
- The introdcutory, one-hour financial literacy overview given during registration events did not have any effect on the savings behavior of beneficiaries.
- Financial messages delivered over the course of a cash transfer program have the potential to overcome other factors that restrict savings behavior.