The research proposal of Dr. Bernadette Gavino-Gumba, Professor at the Department of Social Sciences, has been accepted as final recipient of a research grant from the Institute for Money, Technology and Financial Inclusion (IMTFI) at the University of California in Irvine. The study “Storing and Transferring Money in a Cash-Strapped Fishing Municipality in the Bicol Region,” shall receive funding and will be conducted in Garchitorena, Camarines Sur for a period of 12 months starting June 2014.
The study aims to examine the conditions and processes of storing and transferring money among rural poor fishers in Garchitorena, one of the poorest towns of the Bicol Region. It specifically aims to: (1) describe the socio-economic profile of the rural poor fishers; (2) explore how the fishers store and transfer money in their daily household and livelihood activities; (3) determine the factors that help or hinder the engagement of the fishers in transferring and storing money; and (4) to identify possible interventions of local policy makers and industry developers in expanding the potential of mobile money as a tool for financial inclusion of rural poor fishers.
The IMTFI`s mission is to support research on money and technology among the world`s poorest people. It seeks to create a community of practice and inquiry into the everyday uses and meanings of money, as well as examining the technological infrastructures being developed as carriers of mainstream and alternative currencies worldwide. Money costs money for people who are extremely poor and who have limited or no access to banks or credit. For many of the world`s poor, fees for financial services and transactions seriously limit their ability to use or share what little money they have. People have long taken whatever is ready-to-hand to serve the functions of money, from livestock to jewelry, and have used different relationships and objects to help them save, store, and transfer wealth. Today, new communications technologies are being added to this complex ecology of money. This ranges from sharing airtime minutes as an alternative currency, to using mobile phones and point-of-sale terminals for accessing banking institutions, or even as independent systems for saving, storing and transferring wealth (IMTFI, 2013.)
The IMTFI is housed in the School of Social Sciences at the University of California in Irvine.