TITLE: Amar Bangladesh: a social awareness campaign to encourage legal channels of remittances
CATEGORY: Social Impact
NAME: Shilpa | Abraham
CITY: Abu Dhabi
COUNTRY: United Arab Emirates (UAE)
APPLICANT TYPE: Company
The socio-economic impact of expatriate fund transfers is extremely important for a country like Bangladesh where workers’ remittances make up nearly 8% of the GDP. One of the key issues that surfaced amongst the low-income expatriate Bangla community in the UAE was the menace of fraudulent informal remittance channels.
In the absence of adequate access to banking and financial services many of the expatriate Bangla workers were seen resorting to using informal channels like “Hundi” and “Hawala”. This coincided with widespread instances of fraud, financial malpractices and Ponzi schemes. More often than not these workers had limited legal recourse to recover their money and mostly ended up losing their hard-earned wages.
Moreover, the majority of these incidents also went unreported considering the limited education and influence of the victims. Despite the clear risks the informal channel presented, it continued to thrive, given the inadequate financial literacy and awareness amongst migrants, thereby, creating a vicious cycle of fraud, financial ruin and despair.
To combat the menace of informal channels and to enhance financial literacy amongst the expatriate Bangla community, UAE Exchange, the leading global remittance, foreign exchange and payment solutions brand, partnered with the Ministry of Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment of Bangladesh as well as the Embassy of Bangladesh in UAE to launch a social awareness campaign – Amar Bangladesh (My Bangladesh).
The Amar Bangladesh campaign incorporated a range of financial literacy initiatives spanning multiple channels to build awareness on the risks of the informal channels. Spanning across 3 months (Jan-March 2017), “Amar Bangladesh” incorporated a widespread print and online campaign coupled with face-to-face interactions with the migrant workforce including an aggressive social media outreach program (612K engagements). Additionally over 500,000 booklets were distributed at various Bangladeshi organisations, camps and establishments in UAE to further reinforce the message.
Overall the campaign achieved direct outreach to over 600,000 migrants translating to roughly 75% of the Bangladeshi expatriates in the UAE. As a direct consequence of the campaign, remittance volume growth to Bangladesh from UAE witnessed a staggering 26% increase (Jan- April 2017) thus, making UAE the largest remittance-sending country surpassing Saudi Arabia. Additionally, we are now seeing stringent regulatory oversight being implemented thereby, cracking down on the informal channel and the risks they pose.
SOLUTION IS LIVE? No