What is the value of having a street address? It’s one of those constants of modern life in the Western world that one never considers. But 75% of the global population doesn’t have a mailing address. For those living in the slums or favelas in Rio, or nomadic people in Mongolia or Saharan Africa, or those who are homeless everywhere, not having an address means that financial services, including those that are designed to promote financial inclusion, are going to pass them by.
Software company what3words has designed and implemented a global mapping strategy that assigns each discrete three meter by three metre block of land on earth a unique three word identifier. With applications from national infrastructure development, country-wide postal services, emergency services, and financial inclusion, the system is being adopted by a number of large corporations.
For Mongolia, with its unique challenges of a nomadic people, sparsely populated, inaccessible land, and a rapid demographic shift of people into cities, the challenge for mail delivery, emergency services, and financial inclusion was a significant one.
Mongolia’s national post office has adopted the three word address system, and microfinance agency AREC Mortgage Corporation is using the three word identifiers as legal addresses for purposes of credit scoring, applications for microfinance, insurance, and savings programs. The displaced Mongolian people who were nomadic herders, and have now moved into cities, have a great need for financial and economic inclusion. Having a legal address is an important first step.
The what3words app works offline, so even in areas that are remote and often lose connectivity, the ability to locate and assign location data is still functional. This functionality is particularly important for global humanitarian outreach workers and other UN official staff who travel and work in remote regions
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