Over the past decade, Kenya has become a leader in the development of mobile banking technology. While many urban areas in the country have adopted m-banking services, sparsely populated regions have been relatively unaffected by this technological advancement.
In December 2015, BOMA, in partnership with Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB), developed a mobile banking system to specifically serve Savings Groups. Currently, BOMA Savings Groups use a metal strong box with three locks that holds the savings of the group and receives deposits every month. One major problem that our participants faced using this method was the inability to send or receive money. Another issue was that of security. Mobile banking will offer a more secure way for participants and Savings Groups to manage their business savings.
Mobile phones have already been distributed as a trial in two BOMA locations, Korr and Loglogo, with plans of expansion later this year. “Our goal is for the Savings Group to have a 70% adoption rate amongst participants,” says BOMA’s Country Director, Jim Anderson. Since the majority of BOMA participants are illiterate, the adoption of the technology simultaneously presents a formidable challenge and exciting opportunity. BOMA Village Mentors will be responsible for training their participants and ensuring the continued attendance of participants at the monthly Savings Group meetings.
BOMA participants live in some of the toughest, most isolated regions of the world. The adoption of this new technology will not only give participants more security but also a greater sense of financial inclusion.