collaboration with India-based Eko Technologies and ICICI Bank that enables Cashpor to offer mobile savings accounts to its borrowers (all of whom are women), as well as to people without loans. Once Cashpor’s traveling savings officers enroll clients via the phone, clients are able to use their phones (or phones they borrow) to make deposits, withdraw funds and send remittances. The biggest challenge – and opportunity for change – has involved the cultural barriers in India that discourage women over the age of 30 from owning mobile phones. But as people have seen the benefits of building up a modest nest egg and doing it electronically, cultural norms have begun to change. In the first eight months after it launched the savings product, Cashpor had enrolled more than 54,000 customers.
A Cashpor borrower works on her loom. Thanks to Grameen Foundation, she now has a secure way to save.
Managing Life’s Risks More than three-quarters of the world’s poor have no access to a bank account. Without the stability provided by access to financial services, such as savings, it can take just a single event – for example, a fire, illness or natural disaster – to throw a family into deeper poverty, erasing whatever progress they may have made. Grameen Foundation works closely with local allies to help the poor manage life’s risks by giving them more reliable access to savings accounts and other financial services that have been specifically developed for them.
We are also tapping into growing interest in mobile banking, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, where in Kenya alone more than 68 percent of adults use mobile phones for financial transactions. Our Mobile Financial Services team is working with the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP) and mobile network provider MTN Uganda to research and develop a full range of new and innovative mobile financial products to help poor households manage their scarce resources using services that complement their dynamic, complex financial lives. The initiative builds on the extensive research already conducted through Grameen Foundation’s Application Laboratory (AppLab) in Uganda and MTN’s successful Mobile Money service. We are also conducting additional ethnographic research to better understand the financial needs of the poor and how they use their money. Those findings will help us develop strategies to promote the adoption of the services and products that are created through the initiative. Finally, we are taking what we’ve learned in Africa and applying it to Latin America, where we are working with MasterCard Worldwide to understand the demand for mobile GF financial services among rural poor farmers.
More than three-quarters of the world’s poor have no access to a bank account.
Our Microsavings Initiative – a three-year project funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation – has been working with three microfinance institutions (MFIs), in Ethiopia, India and the Philippines, to develop strategies to enable the poor to save through formal services. For example, in the last fiscal year, we expanded our work with Cashpor Micro Credit in India, where complex regulations require MFIs to work with banks to provide savings. We helped develop a
Grameen Foundation by the Numbers
in direct financing through our Pioneer Fund to promising, innovative poverty-focused organizations
308,000 11 countries about
Annual Report to our stakeholders