Providing rapid relief in crises

Mobile commerce rises to the challenge



How do you overcome obstacles that delay helping an affected population during its time of need?

In a crisis situation, such as the aftermath of an earthquake, tsunami or civil war, displaced people usually have an urgent need for essential provisions, such as food, water, clothing and shelter. But traditional solutions for distributing aid to those who need it are often inefficient and inequitable.

Mobile money services can provide the solution to a demanding problem, and streamline the delivery of aid to affected populations.


The Ericsson Emergency Wallet

Many of Ericsson’s humanitarian partners have requested digital financial services solutions for emergency situations. There is an urgent need for a turnkey Emergency Wallet solution, as mobile financial services, including mobile money and mobile wallets, are among the quickest, safest, and most efficient ways of extending the benefits of basic financial transactions to people who need them.

Ericsson has committed to developing Ericsson Emergency Wallet, a mobile financial services solution for deployment in the immediate aftermath of disaster or crises to support humanitarian aid and affected populations. The solution design and prototyping is co-funded via the Level One Project from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

“Digital payment mechanisms are essential to delivering effective cash transfers to address the large scale humanitarian needs caused by today's crises. However, only 30 percent of countries facing severe humanitarian emergencies have digital payments infrastructure to support scaled-up response. The IRC welcomes efforts such as the Ericsson Emergency Wallet solution to close this gap.”. - David Miliband, President and CEO, International Rescue Committee


The Ericsson Emergency Wallet solution addresses the four main problems associated with helping an affected population during its time of need: speed, transparency, safety and security, and communication.


When disaster strikes, getting aid to those who need it most timing is critical and can be a matter of life and death. Mobile money is significantly faster than distributing physical cash or paper vouchers.


Donors and aid agencies need to know exactly how many people received aid and how much value they received. Mobile money transactions are traceable due to their digital nature, meaning there is a digital audit trail that increases the level of transparency across the operation and reduces corruption.

Safety and security

Distributing aid electronically is also much safer for both aid workers and recipients than handling cash. Studies comparing the use of mobile money and physical cash distribution have found that incidents of theft of cash transfers fall by more than 50 percent thanks to the use of mobile money.


Mobile services support messaging as well as payments, enabling donors to contact recipients to determine how their needs are changing over time and whether the aid is having the desired impact, and then adjusting their strategy accordingly.