PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti -- The government of Haiti will use certain Western Union tools that will allow thousands of Haitian mothers, university students, the handicapped, and elderly to more easily access government cash payments at more than 600 locations throughout the country. Western Union will also provide technical assistance to help improve the overall delivery of these payments.
Government cash payments, known worldwide as conditional cash transfers, have become a successful tool to address the needs of the poorest sectors of societies all over the world. In Haiti, under the umbrella of Ede Pep (Help People), the government has developed a wide array of programs that have successfully addressed the needs of school children, university students, the handicapped and approximately 200,000 women, children and men across Haitian society.
Despite the success of these programs, cash payments were difficult to deliver over the course of the "last mile," owing mainly to the remoteness of certain locations. Such is the case of one of the most successful programs called Kore Handicape et Ti gran Moun (Handicapped and elderly) that provides a cash payment to 50,000 handicapped and elderly Haitians, who must be reached at home given their particular life circumstances.
To overcome these difficulties, the government sought partnerships with the private sector to help make these transfer payments easier to deliver to the thousands who receive them each month. Western Union, a leading global payment services company which already has an important presence in Haiti, proved to be an ideal partner.
According to Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe, "Mainly because of its expertise, Western Union's tools will help our government bridge the gap between our cash transfer programs and the vast numbers of citizens nationwide who receive them."
Lamothe added, "Our government has been seeking these relationships with companies such as Western Union to improve the delivery of services to its citizens by accessing state of the art technology. Our linkage with Western Union shows how international businesses can play a key role in Haiti's recovery and its long term development."
Hikmet Ersek, president and chief executive officer, Western Union, noted, "The introduction of our service in Haiti will help facilitate government payments supporting social programs across the country, and is part of our business strategy to harness the power of our global money transfer platform."
Western Union also pledged to provide technical support to the government's free education program called Ekol Gratis that has already incorporated 1.2 million children into the school system.