On December 15, the Stellar Development Foundation (SDF) announced its partnership with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to pilot a digital cash payment system powered by Stellar to send money to Ukrainians in need.
UNHCR is the UN agency tasked with protecting refugees and those displaced by persecution or political conflict.
Stellar will focus on immediately delivering UN aid via the “Stellar Aid Assist” pilot project. It partnered with Circle, MoneyGram International and wallet app Vibrant to achieve this goal.
According to the project’s website, Stellar Aid Assist is already being used “to provide eligible Ukrainians” with financial assistance through the stablecoin USD Coin (USDC) sent directly to their phones.
“Eligible Ukrainians can register with a participating aid organization to receive digital emergency aid through the Vibrant wallet and get the money in cash at participating MoneyGram locations.”
Stellar Aid and the UN provide aid to Ukrainians
Thanks to Stellar and Vibrant, the UN can send money faster and cheaper than older channels. As the Ukrainian banking infrastructure suffers from the war, the number of unbanked and underbanked people is increasing. A solution that does not depend on banks is of utmost importance in this scenario.
These digitally delivered cash supports aim to provide an alternative to handling fiat money at a time when it may be difficult or dangerous to store or move physical notes.
Thanks to the partnership with MoneyGram, Ukrainian citizens will be able to receive their help in practice quickly “even if (they) do not have a bank account or a credit or debit card.” But Ukrainians will be able to exchange their stablecoin for fiat in any MoneyGram if they decide to do so.
Stellar And The IRC helped 33 people in December
So far in December, Stellar and the International Rescue Committee (IRC), a voluntary organization set up to help people persecuted for political, religious or ethnic reasons, have helped 33 of the 100 people they hope to reach before the end of the year.
One of the benefits of using Stellar Aid Assist to send money to people in need is that the entire sending process is instantly traceable, preventing theft or diversion of funds and providing greater transparency for all donors.
Karolina Lindholm Billing, UNHCR representative in Ukraine, said she was very pleased that both organizations chose Ukraine to test Stellar Aid Assist “so that it can benefit many thousands more people who need help as a result of the war”
— Stellar (@StellarOrg) 15 December 2022
David Miliband, President and CEO of the International Rescue Committee (IRC) said that this partnership with Stellar has enabled Ukrainians to “receive much-needed cash assistance” by taking advantage of blockchain technology.
Denelle Dixon, Executive Director and CEO of the Stellar Development Foundation (SDF), said the foundation was proud to partner with the IRC to pioneer the delivery of humanitarian aid through Stellar Aid Assist.
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