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Banking the invisible

Farmers with no formal identification can have economic identities and access to banking in their own villages

Access to banking and financial services is new to many in remote villages in Papua New Guinea. Many think it is restricted to people in certain formal-sector jobs. Silim Nembenian, a vanilla farmer from a rural village in Madang Province, thought so too.  Due to poor road connectivity and the remote location of her village, access to good markets and basic services, including banking, is a challenge for her and other farmers. We no formal identification it is difficult especially for women to open bank accounts. In 2019, Kamapim Ltd, an agriculture company, introduced a financial inclusion initiative for its vanilla farmers. In addition to purchasing vanilla, Kamapim assisted farmers with getting national identification documents, opening new bank accounts if they have no formal ID, accessing mobile phones, completing phone banking training and training on effective farming techniques to improve the quality and quantity of their production.Through the #PNGAusPartnership, MDF PNG funded Kamapim in 2021 to reach more communities to help address the issue of financial inclusion. As a result, Silim now has a bank account and can decide how she spends the money earned from her hard work. More than 3000 farmers now have bank accounts, Many of whom are women. We celebrate Silim and all farmers that have taken the steps to  be visible and financially included for the first time.

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