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COVID BASICS

KNOW COVID-19 TO SAY NO TO COVID-19

Harvest - A Story of Financial Literacy

By Jijo Jose and Flarantxa Pereira, #COVIDActionCollab

March 19, 2022

Rekha* a farmer visited her local market to sell silk and was able to get a good deal with one of the shopkeepers in the area. Once the deal was finalized, the shopkeeper told Rekha he would send her the money using her contact number. This confused her and left her scared that she wouldn’t receive payment. Rekha didn’t know that she could receive money through her contact number, she didn’t know or understand the concept of digital transactions, her understanding of payments were limited to a cash transaction.
Many farmers face similar situations due to lack of understanding surrounding digital transactions. There is an emerging need for farmers to adapt and digitize their transactions so they don’t lose out on income. As the country goes digital, this gap needs to be addressed. Vrutti saw the need and together with the #COVIDActionCollab (CAC) has been working on addressing this.

VaxNow

Accelerating vaccinations for millions of vulnerable people across India

VaxNow is bringing together the Government, Private Sector Organizations, Community leaders, NGOs and the Media to accelerate the vaccination of vulnerable people in Karnataka, Maharashtra, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Bihar. These partners will collaborate to reach the unreached through an agile, geographically contextualized plan which will help overcome barriers for vulnerable communities. The criteria for selecting these communities is: people with the highest access barriers, the highest chance of contracting COVID and people living in overcrowded places.
The team at CAC who have been working on livelihoods of those impacted by COVID-19 crafted five training modules and have conducted training sessions amongst partner organizations like Vrutti to create awareness on digital financial transactions for the farming community. The modules include financial goal setting and budgeting, financial planning, the importance of digital technology, tracking bank accounts through SMS, usage of debit cards, UPI Applications, budgeting, etc. The team at Vrutti used the developed modules to train 1,939 farmers over the course of 133 sessions. A total of 10 trainers conducted in-person sessions in Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh, and Kanakapura, Karnataka. These capacity building sessions were held in-person amidst the third-wave, just one of the many challenges faced by the trainers who were reaching these communities. One of the main challenges was that many of the farmers being trained didn’t own a smartphone. The trainers used their personal devices due to unavailability and access to the internet, to reach the farmers and ensure the best possible outcome and learning for the attendees. “I had an experience where my son used my debit card to withdraw money without my consent, he had the card as I depended on him for cash withdrawal. Now I know how I can track every transaction through an SMS alert sent by the bank”, said one of the participants in Kurnool. In a rapidly moving financial market, digital financial literacy is essential. Vrutti has been building the capacities of farmers and giving them the tools they need to bounce forward.
    *Name changed to protect the identity

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COVIDActionCollab is not merely an aggregation of partners, but is an aggregation of capacities, through which we have developed key high impact initiatives. We have drawn upon our one year’s experience at CAC and engagement with our large constituency of partners to put together a menu of initiatives for funders/investors to support which will save lives and livelihoods, and enable vulnerable communities to 'bounce forward’. Support these initiatives to build resilient communities