Safe Cities Free of Violence against Women and Girls Mobile Money & Bill Pay System Initiative
1. Overview
UN Women has designed a multi-country, global initiative entitled, Safe Cities Free of Violence against Women and Girls. This initiative aims to develop, test, evaluate and disseminate a model for adaptation and scaling up that makes cities safer for women by focusing on the rights of women to utilize and enjoy public urban spaces. Port Moresby has been selected as one of five cities that make up a set of global pilot projects around the world – alongside Quito in Ecuador, Kigali in Rwanda, Cairo in Egypt, and New Delhi in India.

A central objective of the Programme in Port Moresby is to demonstrate how women's and girls' public safety and security can be promoted in markets – the most heavily populated of city public spaces used by women working to earn a living, as well as patrons across all sectors of the community to buy cheap food and to connect, network, and socialize. In a country where employment is 85% subsistence agriculture, markets provide access to a small income by enabling people who grow their own food to sell excess produce or goods, and provide a vital opportunity for women to enter the informal economy. As part of the initial stages of implementation of the Safe City Project in Port Moresby, a Scoping Study was carried out by UN Women in early 2011 in six markets of the capital city with the purpose of gathering and documenting information on the different forms of GBV and other forms of violence in the market places. The report reveals that the effect of the violence prevalent in Port Moresby, as it is experienced by women and girls in particular, restricts their access to and enjoyment of the important economic opportunities presented by the markets. A number of key issues were identified and a series of recommendations have been included in the report, incorporated in the programme design, and have been endorsed by the National Capital District Commission (NCDC)1.

Some of the key issues identified were around petty crimes and robbery happening in and around the markets. These include:
  1. Fee collectors/market clerks cut market tickets in 6-8 pieces and give only a piece of ticket to the vendors who pay a full fare for each ticket.
  2. A large amount of the fees collected in the markets are not being banked to the revenue section in NCDC.
  3. Vendors are being charged "extra" fees for use of facilities, cleaning of the market and usage of the market space.
  4. Vendors who are largely women have cash after finishing their sales and are at risk of being robbed when getting into the public transport or walking in the streets.
The Safe Cities for Women and Girls Programme in Port Moresby would like to pilot a mobile money and bill pay system initiative that would assist in reducing some of the above mentioned problems and allow for a more transparent and efficient management of the fees being collected. A better management of the fees will enable NCDC to provide better maintenance and development in the markets. Providing access to financial services such as mobile money can have a positive effect on the levels of savings and control over financial resources that the women market vendors have. In the longer term, the mobile money system could also assist in slowly removing/reducing cash transactions happening in the market in the buying and selling of goods.
2. Proposal

How it will work: A. Bill Pay System for paying vendor fees:

  1. A mobile money agent is set up as close as possible to the market and ideally within the market itself and registers vendors.
  2. Registered market vendors deposits (cash-in) an amount in his/her mobile wallet account with the agent in the vicinity of the market.
  3. Each day he/she can pay the daily fee for market usage through an established bill pay system that is linked to their mobile wallet.
  4. The record of this transaction can be checked by the market clerk through the SMS confirmation that is received on the vendors' phone.
  5. Once a fortnight or a period to be determined, the mobile money platform owner transfers the accumulated fees to the NCDC revenue account section.
Potential challenges to be addressed:
  1. To view full report go to:
    http://www.unwomenpacific.org/pages.cfm/news-resources-centre/publications/2012-2/making-port-moresby-safer-for-women-girls-scoping-study.html
  • The physical journey the vendor has to make to deposit the cash into the account with the agent has to be as short as possible and preferably within the market with the associated security presence.
  • The small amount involved in the daily transactions may present little incentive for banks or mobile money agents to implement such system. However, the daily nature of these transactions opens an opportunity for a very large market as this initiative once proved successful can be rolled out into all the other markets of the city that fall under NCDC's jurisdiction and into other pilot provinces currently under discussion with UN Women's partners.
B. Expansion of mobile money usage into markets
  1. The market vendors at the end of the day take his/her takings to an agent for cash in into their mobile wallet.
  2. As mentioned above, this agent needs to be in close proximity to the market and be secure ideally, again within the market if possible.
  3. As there would be a number of people depositing some money into their mobile wallet, security is crucial. The agent and his/her effectiveness and liquidity management are the responsibility of those in charge of setting up the agents.
  4. Once a cash in transaction has been made, the money is then available in the vendor's mobile wallet to pay for the market fees as stated in the first point and to buy the following mornings produce from the wholesaler, send remittances, save money, etc.
Potential challenges to be addressed:
  • There are several security aspects that are of concern. However, through the Safe Cities Programme many if these issues are being addressed through partnerships with the police, NCDC and the establishment of a community policing programme that is expected to be rolled out in 2013. Linking a mobile money initiative with a bill pay system provides the opportunity for mobile money service providers to enter a very large market where the informal sector is situated and assist customers to get used to mobile transactions at faster pace.
3. Benefits

Benefits that these linked initiatives will bring are:

  1. Reduction in risk of high levels of physical cash circulating within markets.
  2. All fees collected go straight into the bill pay system of the mobile money platform and then directly into NCDC's revenue collection account. No risk in fee collectors either being held up and losing the money, or using the money themselves. Reports can also be provided with each transaction for reconciliation purposes.
  3. Vendors, especially females don't have to carry large amounts of cash home, they can either cash in to their phones or transfer to a friend or relatives phone for safe keeping.
  4. Market vendors who do not have access to a formal bank account will then have access to a financial service in which they can store and save up some money.
  5. With a mobile money system in place, not only vendors but also customers can use mobile money to purchase market produce, reducing the amount of cash and risk for customers as well.
4. Potential for expansion
  1. There are 11 formal markets in NCD; however, only six are fully operational. The total number of daily vendors ranges from 200 up to 1000 in each market. The estimated number of vendors in formal markets is up to 5,000. Each vendor pays a K2 fee for the daily use of the market space and most markets operate 7 days a week. Should all extortion and mismanagement of space fees disappear, there would be an annual revenue exceeding 3 million kina per year in market space fees.
  2. If the initial pilot is successful in the first pilot market, the system could be implemented in all the formal markets of the city and the other provinces currently being discussed for expansion of the programme.
  3. This initiative would also provide thousands of market vendors access to financial services through mobile money.
5. Costs

Description Amount

Description Amount
Cost of system configuration for Bill Payment TBD
Cost of marketing and awareness at markets and to general public TBD
6. Transition
  1. A pilot program will be initiated at one market within NCD for three months.
  2. Issues will be addressed within that period of time and resolved.
  3. A rollout program to be designed on and implemented at all public markets around the city. This initiative has great potential and UN Women could assist in the implementation of a similar system in other provinces if the Safe Cities programme is expanded.
7. Proposed Next steps
  1. Mobile money service providers to express interest in developing such platform- call for applications attached.
  2. Review business case and select preferred offeror.
  3. Award contract and sign MOU between NCDC, platform owner and UN Women to stipulate roles, responsibilities, payment schedules, milestones and management arrangements.
  4. Initiate a technical setup of Bill Payment service linked to a mobile wallet.
  5. Signoff on pilot plan.
  6. Go live.
  7. Address challenges and technical issues.
  8. Design expansion plan into other markets in the city.

This contract is yet to be awarded.