To begin our April edition, we would like to express our gratitude to all the front line workers in coping with COVID-19, to hold our communities and our economy together. The past months have posed a significant uncertainty to us, financially and physically. Health-related shocks, such as death or severe sickness, can affect households' budgets significantly and create severe household trauma, leading to higher possibilities of them falling into poverty traps. This is especially true for people in rural areas.
Therefore, under this unprecedented global emergency, we are sharing with you a paper published by the Asian Development Bank Institute, "Community-Based Financing Schemes to Finance Social Protection". We hope to provide you with the information on using innovative microfinance health-related services, such as community-based health insurance, to scale up the coverage of health-care services in rural and resource-poor environments. This paper is exploring innovative ways of financing social protection, especially to improve access to health care services for poor and marginalized communities, by considering how to address the failures of community-based forms of health insurance, such as micro-insurance and cooperative insurance, and marrying them with concepts of sustainable financing, such as hometown investment trusts (HTITs).
Secondly, we would like to present you two technical briefs issued by CGIAR (Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research) on Index-based Flood Insurance (IBFI) in India and Bangladesh respectively. Floods and other weather-related disasters often plague farmers in both of the countries, and climate change threatens to exacerbate these risks. The brief in India attempts to highlight the existing institutional mechanisms that can support tenant farmers and other vulnerable groups to gain access to IBFI. The brief on Bangladesh aims to understand how such a scheme can be made accessible, especially to marginal groups, while policy support in Bangladesh is lukewarm and most Weather Index Insurance (WII) schemes have been implemented mainly by NGOs and donors.
Finally yet importantly, a recent policy brief conducted by FAO "COVID-19 and smallholder producers’ access to markets", to inform policymakers on options for mitigating the effects of the lockdown on food and agriculture with attention to smallholders' access to markets. This policy brief is built on lessons learned from the 2014 Ebola virus disease (EVD) epidemic and the 2007–2008 global food prices volatility crisis. It also analyses the initial challenges and responses by the countries that were affected at the early stages of the COVID-19 outbreak. In particular, it presents some measures of financial support to smallholder producers by analyzing the cases from China, Italy and Brazil. For more policy briefs regarding the impact of COVID-19, please find the link on FAO's official website.
Please stay strong and we all are with you virtually.
The Rural Finance and Investment Learning Centre is a part of the CABFIN Partnership Project which aims to promote and facilitate capacity building in rural finance. The concerns of rural finance are to ensure that people living in rural areas have access to financial services such as deposit and money transfer facilities, insurance and loan products. Effective use of these services can help to improve livelihoods and reduce rural poverty. The following CABFIN Partners have provided financial support to the RFILC: