A baseline survey by Manusher Jonno Foundation (MJF) has found that 99% of domestic workers of Dhaka are not interested in using mobile financial services (MFS) to avail of their salaries at the end of the month, as they heavily rely on cash payments.
MJF launched “Shuchona” – a pilot project supported by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation − to empower female domestic workers through a formal national financial digitization system.
The findings of the baseline survey were released on Wednesday at the capital’s Cirdap conference hall.
The study was conducted on 250 women domestic workers and women employers in Dhaka city’s Mohammadpur, Mirpur, Goran, Keraniganj, and Kamrangirchar areas.
The survey found that 67% of domestic workers had personal mobile phones. Of them, 91% used feature phones.
Domestic work is one of the sectors in Bangladesh that hosts more than 10 million employees. It is a most deprived sector where 90% of the workers are women – having mainly migrated from rural to urban areas.
However, only 19% of domestic workers had any sort of MFS account and 36% of them didn’t use those accounts at all. And those who used the accounts used them for regular money transactions, not to receive salaries.
As many as 92% of the domestic workers pointed out that lack of capacity to operate phones properly and inconvenience in withdrawing money during any emergency were the main reasons behind the lack of interest in switching to MFS.
On the other hand, employers are also comfortable paying domestic workers in cash. As many as 48% of employers have reported they don’t know how to operate MFS platforms, but if the workers wished, around 81% of employers agreed to pay the cost of MFS services
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MJF has recommended arranging training on how to use MFS for both employers and domestic workers to make them more habituated to digital financial services. In this way, that money can be incorporated formally into the national economy.