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INSIGHT: Executing human centred design research into smartphone-enabled digital financial services for women

[Testimonial from Betsy]

The majority of the informal female traders in Kenya do not have access to smartphones and internet-enabled devices that can open multiple opportunities for digital financial services (DFS) and related services in areas such as financial literacy and business skills training.

M-KOPA is conducting a human-centred design research initiative to assess barriers to and opportunities for a digital small loans application that is relevant to small scale women traders via its credit-secured, pay-as-you-go (PAYG) smartphones.

M-KOPA will use the USD 300,000 ADFI-awarded funding for research to assess barriers to and opportunities for women’s access to digital financial service and financial literacy programmes via its credit-secured, pay-as-you-go smartphones and use the research insights to design a financial services app that is relevant to small-scale women traders.

The research study, involving 250 women and 250 men in Kenya’s Kisumu, Eldoret and Machakos counties, will benefit women with no or limited access to financial services who run small informal businesses. Once developed, the mobile app will be used to pilot small loans to women traders.

From focus group discussions, key insights demonstrate the need for women small traders to overcome barriers to access to credit to build business resilience and growth:

“COVID-19 affected our businesses and they went down, so we need loans for capital to revive our businesses.”

Woman focus group respondent, Eldoret

“A digital loan is private; you can borrow at the comfort of your house.”

Livestock owner, Eldoret

“We lack information in getting loans and training on loans and financial issues.” 

Women focus group respondent, Eldoret

M-KOPA will soon be publishing a report and video to share the results of the research study.

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