GreenBox POS Joins Visa’s Fintech Fast Track Program

SAN DIEGO, Feb. 12, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — GreenBox POS (OTCQB: GRBX) (“GreenBox”, the “Company”), an emerging financial technology company leveraging proprietary blockchain security to build customized payment solutions today announced that it has joined Visa's Fintech Fast Track program, speeding up the process of integrating with Visa. By joining Fast Track, GreenBox is able to more easily leverage the reach, capabilities, and security that VisaNet, the company's global payment network, offers. Through Visa Fast Track and working with Visa Fast Track partners, GreenBox will be issuing a co–branded Visa card and enabling direct push–to–card payments.

GreenBox operates a private and proprietary blockchain payment platform that offers security and data privacy, as well as enhanced fraud protection and rapid speed to settlement. Serving as the settlement engine for financial transactions, GreenBox's blockchain technology is a distributed ledger that uses digitally encrypted keys to verify, secure and record details of each transaction conducted within GreenBox's private ecosystem. The speed and security of the platform allows GreenBox to log immense volumes of immutable transactional records in real time.

Visa's Fintech Fast Track Program provides companies like GreenBox the ability to access Visa's growing partner network, and experts who can provide guidance in helping them get up and running in the most efficient way possible. Learn more about Visa's Fintech Fast Track program at https://Partner.Visa.com.

“Our partnership with Visa marks another important step aligned with our goal to help move society towards cashless, secure payments where digital currency can be moved anywhere at any time," said Fredi Nisan, Chief Executive Officer of GreenBox POS. "Being able to issue payment credentials and send near real–time payments across the Visa network significantly enhances our payment solutions offering."

"By joining Visa's Fast Track program, exciting Fintechs like GreenBox POS gain extraordinary access to Visa experts, technology, and resources," said Terry Angelos, SVP and Global Head of Fintech, Visa. "Fast Track lets us provide new resources that rapidly growing companies need to scale with efficiency."

About GreenBox POS

GreenBox POS (OTCQB: GRBX) is an emerging financial technology company leveraging proprietary blockchain security to build customized payment solutions. The Company's applications enable an end–to–end suite of turnkey financial products, helping to reduce fraud and improve the efficiency of handling large–scale commercial processing volumes for its merchant clients globally. For more information, please visit the Company's website at www.greenboxpos.com.

Forward–Looking Statements Disclaimer

This release contains forward–looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. All forward–looking statements are inherently uncertain as they are based on current expectations and assumptions concerning future events or future performance of the Company. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward–looking statements, which are only predictions and speak only as of the date hereof. In evaluating such statements, prospective investors should review carefully various risks and uncertainties identified in this release and matters set out in the Company's SEC filings. These risks and uncertainties could cause the Company's actual results to differ materially from those indicated in the forward–looking statements.

Investor Relations Contact
Mark Schwalenberg
MZ Group – MZ North America
312–261–6430
GRBX@mzgroup.us
www.mzgroup.us


Transition to Digital Economy Must Ensure Access to Those in the Digital Gap

Marcia Julio Vilanculos, pictured here in this dated photo with her baby, was one of the participants of a digital literacy training course at Ideario innovation hub, Maputo, Mozambique a few years ago. Only 6.8 percent of all Mozambican women, with or without owning a cellphone, use the internet. Questions remain about the possibility of a successful transition to a digital economy in a world where there’s a glaring digital divide -- one that has become even more pronounced under the pandemic. Credit: Mercedes Sayagues/IPS

Marcia Julio Vilanculos, pictured here in this dated photo with her baby, was one of the participants of a digital literacy training course at Ideario innovation hub, Maputo, Mozambique a few years ago. Only 6.8 percent of all Mozambican women, with or without owning a cellphone, use the internet. Questions remain about the possibility of a successful transition to a digital economy in a world where there’s a glaring digital divide — one that has become even more pronounced under the pandemic. Credit: Mercedes Sayagues/IPS

By Samira Sadeque
UNITED NATIONS, Feb 12 2021 (IPS)

It is crucial to ensure that any transition to a digital economy has mechanisms in place that are non-digital to avoid “double exclusion”, according to Shahrashoub Razavi, director of the social protection department at the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

Razavi spoke with IPS following an ILO panel addressing the issue of social protection and the transition to a green and digital economy — a side-event of the ongoing United Nations 59th session of the Commission for Social Development (CSocD).

Razavi moderated Wednesday’s “Social protection floors for a just transition to the green and digital economy” panel, which hosted social protection advisers and labour directors from different countries.

An important topic during the panel was how social protection systems could have helped societies cope better with the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Social protection floors can reduce vulnerabilities and it can protect those impacted by a digital and green transformation,” Adrian Hauri, the deputy permanent representative of Switzerland to the UN, said during the opening remarks.

Aileen O’Donovan, the social protection policy lead at Irish Aid, pointed out that there has been a massive rise of social protection responses under the pandemic. More specifically, 209 countries implemented or announced 1,596 social protection measures by end of November 2020. 

“It’s critical now more than ever to invest in social protection systems,” she added.

O’Donovan further highlighted the importance of taking into account the most vulnerable communities when discussing social protection systems — especially those affected by climate change.

“Our commitment is really around reaching those furthest behind and we know that those who are most vulnerable are also vulnerable to the impact of climate change,” she said. “So it’s really critical to ensure that social protections are effectively designed to take into [account] mitigating climate impact and supporting adaptations.” 

O’Donovan concluded by saying it was important to make use of the current momentum.

“The momentum is really behind social protection systems, so it’s really about — how do we take this further and sustain this momentum to build much more resilient communities?” she asked.

But questions remain about the possibility of a successful transition to a digital economy in a world where there’s a glaring digital divide — one that has become even more pronounced under the pandemic.

“The digital gaps are concerning and if social protection transfers rely entirely on digital mechanisms then they are likely to exclude those without adequate access to such technologies,” Razavi told IPS when addressing these concerns. “It is important therefore that non-digital mechanisms are also available for those who would otherwise face a double exclusion (ie those without adequate digital literacy and access to the internet, mobile phones, etc).”

Ambassador Valérie Berset Bircher, a member of the labour directorate at the Swiss Secretariat for Economic Affairs, told IPS that the pandemic affected workers differently, based on social protection systems in place in different countries.

“For countries like Switzerland (high-income countries), which have a longstanding social protection system in place, we were able to extend the system to cover more categories of workers and to extend the duration of the protection,” she said. “But of course in other parts of the world, countries were not able to invest sufficiently in stimulus packages and therefore were not able to protect jobs and wages.”

At the panel talk, she highlighted the need for a “human-centred approach to the future of the world” — one that would prioritise investing in job skills and social protection, and making sure all workers are protected and can benefit from changes in the labour market.

Bircher, who is also the head of the Swiss delegation to the current session of the CSocD, elaborated what the “human-centred approach” entails.

“It means investing in the institutions of the labour market and adopting policies that promote an enabling environment for sustainable enterprises, economic growth and decent work for all,” she said. “Our main objective is to ensure the highest possible participation in the workforce and a good quality of employment, including in the digital age.”

She highlighted the importance of designing a social safety net that would be accessible to everyone, and added that flexible labour market regulation, well-functioning social partnership, and active labour market policies would be crucial for structural change.

But some challenges remain to be addressed.

Going forward, a big question is how effectively they can turn these temporary measures into proper programmes anchored in policies and laws and backed by adequate financing,” Razavi told IPS. “This is a big challenge in the context of major economic disruptions and falling taxes and other government revenues.”

Despite these questions, Razavi says the social protection responses are “a silver lining” to the crisis. 

“If there was a silver lining to the crisis, it was the way in which it mobilised governments to put together social protection responses, sometimes from scratch with no existing systems and programmes,” she said.

Valérie Allain – Women in Science (2021)

By External Source
Feb 12 2021 (IPS-Partners)

“Working in Science, like any other career, is fit for women too… Just go for it, nobody can stop you”, Valérie Allain, Senior Fisheries Scientist at the Pacific Community (SPC).

In Tanzania, a Radio Programme for Girls Yields Unexpected Results

Kisa Project Manager, Hadija Hassan, records the Tanzania-based GLAMI’s first radio program, about Personal Leadership, at the studio. Courtesy: AfricAid/GLAMI

By Jessica Love
DENVER, Colorado, Feb 12 2021 – Last fall, a 45-year-old father of four named Moses turned on the radio at his home in Arusha, Tanzania. Searching for his favorite station, he heard the introduction to a program about girls that he would later describe as ‘ear-catching.’ He wanted to know what would come next.

He had stumbled upon “Safari ya Binti” (A Girl’s Journey), a pilot radio program created by GLAMI (Girls Livelihood and Mentorship Initiative), a Tanzanian NGO that runs extracurricular mentoring programs for secondary school girls.

In a culture that too often reinforces the narrative that girls are weak, less important than boys, and that being confident and determined is rude, GLAMI is working to upend this narrative. Matching girls with university-educated Tanzanian female mentors, GLAMI shows their scholars they have the power to write their own futures – and then they teach the skills needed to do just that.

As a result, girls enrolled in these mentoring programs are more likely to graduate secondary school, attend university, and create positive change in their communities.

Safari ya Binti provided a way for mentors and scholars to connect when in-person sessions had been scaled back due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Airing weekly on Saturdays for four months, GLAMI mentors presented lessons that aligned with themes in their core curriculum, such as personal leadership, resilience, study skills, and community leadership.

The father of one son and three daughters, the radio programming was of deep interest to Moses. “The fact that a lot of girls drop out of school because of pregnancy, which is disappointing to us as parents, got me thinking that girls are weak and dependent, and that there is nothing they can do better than taking care of a family.”

Listening to Safari ya Binti, Moses heard inspiring female presenters and he heard girls asking smart questions. This was a program his entire family should hear, he decided, and so they all began to gather weekly to listen together.

Courtesy: AfricAid/GLAMI

“I came to realize that girls are capable of doing what boys can do, there is no limit to what they can do. I noticed this by listening to the girl’s testimonies on the sessions,” he said.

He wasn’t the only one to experience this shift in attitude. GLAMI found that a number of other focus group respondents also experienced significant changes in the way they viewed their daughters, and in the way girls viewed themselves.

“I had doubts that women can be leaders but right now I am beginning to believe that girls are born leaders. I even begin to see that my wife is capable of making huge decisions for the family’s well-being,” shared Balongo, the father of a GLAMI scholar, who listened to the radio show.

Nengarivo, who is enrolled in GLAMI’s mentoring program, shared: “There were times after the school opened when I thought that the world was coming to an end. Coronavirus was a threat, and I had a lot of dreams that I wanted to achieve, but an outbreak of Corona made me lose a lot of hopes given the fact that [GLAMI] mentors were visiting us only twice a month, unlike the usual timetable.

But when Safari ya Binti came I was really motivated to start afresh and have my hopes again. …I consider myself a change maker and I believe that I am a leader, I am not afraid of taking any action to save my community.”

This year, United Nations’ World Radio Day celebrates evolution, innovation, and connection at a time when radio has presented perhaps one of the most important lifelines in recent memory. But for so many organizations, radio presented opportunity.

Radio inspired creative approaches like Safari ya Binti. Radio enabled organizations to stay connected to the communities they serve from a safe distance. And radio allowed the chance to reach wider audiences with messages that inspired, informed, and changed attitudes.

The only downside of radio? Lillian, the mother of one girl enrolled in GLAMI programming put it best:
“I just wish that everything that was discussed could be repeated so as the new listeners could learn everything.”

The link to a promotional video created for the program: https://youtu.be/z8yAyh3qlY0

 


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Argentina’s Abortion Legislation Sparks Hope in Caribbean Region

Member of Parliament Juliet Cuthbert-Flynn. Credit: Kate Chappell

By Kate Chappell
KINGSTON, Jamaica, Feb 12 2021 – It was a joyful, tearful celebration in the early morning hours of Dec. 30, 2020 for countless Argentinians when they heard the news: the senate had legalized terminations up to 14 weeks of pregnancy. Prior to this, activists have said that more than 3,000 women died of botched, illegal abortions since 1983. And across the Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) region, this renewed sense of optimism was compounded after President Joe Biden rescinded what is known as the “global gag rule,” which essentially denied funding to international non-profit organizations that provided abortion counseling or referrals.

Now, women and campaigners across LAC are hopeful that these developments will spur lawmakers to consider decriminalizing abortion in their countries, sparing women their lives, economic well-being, dignity and access to a range of options to make the best choice for their reproductive and overall health.

The LAC region has some of the most restrictive legislation in the world.

According to the Guttmacher Institute, a health policy and research organization based in New York, between 2010 and 2014, 6.5 million induced abortions were performed every year. In this region, 97% of women live in countries with restrictive abortion legislation, yet 46% of an estimated 14 million unintended pregnancies end in abortion. About 60% of those were considered to be “unsafe.”

When asked if there is a sense of hope that Argentina’s legislation will spur change in the rest of the region, Tonni Brodber, Representative UN Women, Multi Country Office Caribbean, says there are encouraging signs. “I hope so. Right now we are in the middle of a pandemic, people are struggling with recovery and trying to manage day-to-day life in a pandemic, but there is a lot of support for what has happened within the spaces of women’s organizations.” She added that it “is a difficult conversation, so it will be debated for a long time,” adding that human rights should be centred and stakeholders should focus on the lessons learned from Ireland and other countries, as well as on empathy and shared goals. She noted that Jamaica like all CARICOM countries is a party to the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women, Article 16 of which speaks to the right to reproductive freedom.

(CEDAW (article 16) guarantees women equal rights in deciding “freely and responsibly on the number and spacing of their children and to have access to the information, education and means to enable them to exercise these rights.” CEDAW (article 10) also specifies that women’s right to education includes “access to specific educational information to help to ensure the health and well-being of families, including information and advice on family planning.”)

In Jamaica, where abortion is criminalized by a possible life sentence with or without hard labour (except to save a woman’s life or preserve her mental and physical well-being) Brodber says it is a hopeful sign that both male and female leaders are prioritizing the issue. “It can be motivational for a lot of persons who may feel that these issues are not prioritized.” Several MPs, including one male, have voiced support for repealing the legislation.

Jamaicans have been debating this issue for decades without resolution, and like Argentina and Ireland, faces strong opposition to any less restrictive legislation from the Church. This is similarly the case across the region.

Barbados, Belize, St. Vincent and the Grenadines allow abortion to save a woman’s life as well as mental health and socio-economic well-being. Cuba, Guyana, Uruguay and Peurto Rico all allow abortion without restrictions. It is still not permitted for any reason in six countries, while nine others only allow it for the purpose of saving a woman’s life, according to the Guttmacher Institute.

Juliet Cuthbert-Flynn is state minister in the ministry of Health and Wellness for the majority Jamaica Labour Party. In 2018, she tabled a motion to repeal the legislation that criminalizes termination. It has been debated at the committee level, but the motion died on the order paper with the dissolution of parliament last September for an election. Cuthbert-Flynn says she is working at the policy level to advance the issue again. In the meantime, women are still suffering, she says. “These are the women showing up with complications from a botched abortion,” she says. “I think us as parliamentarians need to understand our role and debate laws even if it is going to cause controversy.”

Natalie Campbell Rodriques, a Senator for the majority Jamaica Labour Party, concurs.

“Personally, my own views are that this is something we should bring to the table to the debate, especially for women, our bodies being policed is not something that sits well with me,” she says.

Unsafe abortions are the third leading cause of maternal mortality in Jamaica, and according to estimates, anywhere from 6,000 to 22,000 women a year terminate a pregnancy. While it appears nobody has received any jail time, at least one doctor has been arrested for performing a termination on a 12-year-old girl.

While the UNFPA does not promote abortion, it seeks to decriminalize it, prioritize family planning efforts, and to handle the consequences of unsafe abortions, efforts that are all centred on a common understanding of human rights that has been enshrined in several treaties and agreements.

“I think we have to be honest this is not a straight cut and dry issue,” says the UNFPA’s Brodber. “It is a difficult conversation, so it will be debated for a long time. We are still not prioritizing yet the same common understanding of human rights and women’s rights in particular,” she says, adding that Jamaica is a party to the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women, which highlights the right to reproductive freedom.

The implications of the restrictive legislations have many consequences, from the stigmatization of the women who terminate their pregnancies, to the financial and emotional costs, to the potential health risks. The legislation also disproportionately affects poor and rural women, who do not have the same access as their wealthy counterparts in urban areas.

Over the past several years, a Jamaican activist has been collecting stories from women who have had an abortion. One of these women describes having two abortions, one in 2015 and one in 2107.

“I went the bandoloo way and as expected I almost died… The pain I felt that night I could have push my head through a grill and not feel it. That was the worst night of my life,” the woman writes.

These are the stories that bring the issue to life, beyond the numbers, and a report released on Feb. 4 makes clear the reality.

Leanne Levers, director of advocacy at the Caribbean Policy and Research Institute, which just released the European Union-funded report called “The Cost of Unequal Access to Safe Abortion in Jamaica,” says that the legislation has dire consequences: “People are having abortions regardless of the legality, and they are being done in a way that is unsafe and have serious health and social complications for women, children and wider society, which comes at an economic cost.”

CAPRI’s report made three major recommendations, including a secret conscience vote to decriminalize abortion and make it legal upon request; the access to abortion by minors without parental consent and publicly funded abortions.

The report, which aims to clear away the rhetoric and provide people with evidence-based research upon which to make decisions, also found there is a cost of US$1.4 million in lost economic output to care for women who have had unsafe abortions. One of Cuthbert-Flynn’s constituents died of a botched abortion, and she has pledged to continue to try to enact change.

“I am a parliamentarian, so first my role as a parliamentarian is to make laws and enact laws. That is my first job, and so if I am not willing to do that, and look at laws enacted in 1864, then I am not sure why I am there.”

For her part, Cuthbert Flynn feels hopeful that Argentina’s legislation can help to spark change, but she says people need to make their voices heard, especially in light of a very vocal lobby against decriminalization from groups representing Jamaica’s churches. She says she has had some threats on social media, but none to her person.

“I think civil society needs to come up and speak out, with the church speaking out. We are hearing more and more voices out there, but they need to do like Argentina. People really came out and rallied for this, and tried to make it happen. I was shocked with them and Ireland to see a society that was Catholic (change legislation). It took the people to really come out and galvanize.”

Women’s rights activist Nadeen Spence says that threats from the church to march in protest of abortion and vote out supportive politicians are irrelevant.

“I’m not even concerned with the church, I’m concerned with what I see as the laziness of our politicians.”

Elsewhere in the region, Dominican Republic shares the distinction with Jamaica of the most restrictive legislation in the world.

Abortion is completely illegal, and women who induce abortions can be jailed for up to two years, while medical providers face up to 20 years. Selene Soto, senior attorney at Women’s Link Worldwide, an NGO that focuses on human rights, says Argentina’s recent legislation “We think that in general, that has had an impact, because these issues are important, and they are still on agenda because of what happened in Argentina,” she says. Activists in the Dominican Republic are lobbying for, at the minimum, an inclusion of three exceptions in which the ban on abortion could be lifted: rape, the life of the mother is in danger and the fetus is not viable. “We think that a total ban or restriction is against human rights standards that have been very well established by several international mechanisms,” says Soto.

 


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