Game Simplifies Insurance for Rakiraki Women

April 12, 2012

Market vendors play a vital role in communities in Fiji.  However, do we ever wonder about the health and other daily risks vendors’ face?  And whether they understand how to protect themselves against such risks? The Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme sought to find out, by introducing the concept of insurance to the vendors as a means of protection against certain risks they encounter in their daily lives.

The challenge of explaining the concept of insurance exists in all environments, including amongst well-educated people, however it can prove to be even more of a challenge when trying to reach people in developing countries, who may have never been exposed to insurance.

To explain the concept of insurance to market vendors in Rakiraki, the women participated in a ‘treasure basket’ game. The game, initially developed by Micro Insurance Academy (MIA) in India, has been adapted to the Fijian context by the Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme (PFIP). The Treasure Basket Game transforms the complex task of insurance education into a simple and effective game. The game educated women on the need for insurance in their community.

For the market vendors, playing the treasure basket game proved to be fun and easy, while at the same time enabling them to understand the notion of insurance and how pooling risks may offer better outcomes then out of pocket spending. Mrs Pramesh Gopal, 67 year old and retired civil servant, Mrs Pramesh Gopal, participated in the game with the market vendors and expressed, “the game was great and it was an easy way to explain insurance to these women, who may have just heard insurance for the first time.”
Microinsurance is insurance with low premiums designed for the poor or low income people. For participants, they realized that microinsurance utilizes the strength of the community – which is nothing strange for the i-taukeicommunity tradition of ‘solesolevaki’.

49 year old Laisani Naiduva was very grateful for the training, “I enjoyed the game and it taught me a lot of lessons; about the risks we face every day and more so as women, and how I can better manage my money and savings. I think microinsurance is something that will really meet the needs of market vendors!”

This capacity building programme is an initiative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in partnership with the Rakiraki Town Council, and the Vaileka Market Vendors Association.

The Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme (PFIP) is a Pacific-wide programme helping to provide sustainable financial services to low income households. It is a joint project of the UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and has received additional funding support from the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) and the European Union. The programme is based at the UNDP Pacific Centre in Suva Fiji.