It has been nearly five months since World Relief first attempted to pilot the e-Recording app in Rwanda. We have since retooled and launched. As I wrote in the first installment we had problems with our smartphone, which had trouble staying connected to the internet. It was an old and very cheap phone, so we knew if we were to give it another try we would have to purchase a new phone. We are now using a Motorola Moto-E, which costs around $130. It’s about $30 more expensive than the smartphones being used in other pilots, but boasts a
Comcast is the largest cable company in the world, with revenue of USD 65 billion a year. On two occasions, national surveys found that Comcast had the worst customer satisfaction rating of any company or government agency in the country, worse even than the Internal Revenue Service. Comcast recently got some particularly bad publicity when
When we do things digitally, we leave behind us a sparkling trail of data. Supermarkets record our sales, credit cards record our purchases, our GPS records our travel, airlines record the cities we visit, bankers record our transactions, Google and Bing record our searches, doctors record our visits, and our internet provider and email service keep records of everything we send and receive.
Looking through `Excellence, Part 1´ (and reflecting back on ‘Please shut your marketing mouth´) I wonder how many programmes really care about how good their SGs are. Paul put his finger on it when he said ` professions have very high standards and very low tolerance of failure, and those who fail have to leave the profession.´ Wow! A revolutionary thought on Savings Revolution!! I jest. I think that maybe half of our programmes have high standards and a low tolerance of failure. Most others, I think, subscribe to high standards, and don’t really worry that much if they fall short - or if, here and there, bad stuff happens.
OK, bad stuff does happen. It can’t be prevented. But it CAN be minimised.
Thulisile Sithole (33) is a member of Ikhwezi SCG (savings and credit group) in Limehill, a peri-urban area in Ladysmith, KwaZulu-Natal, which formed with support of SaveAct. The SCG – among the first to be formed in the area in October 2012 – currently has 20 members, three men and 17 women.
Thulisile is married and has three children aged seven, five and one. She also adopted her brother-in-law’s daughter (now aged five) when he
I was reading Paul’s blog post Tool vs. the Machine and had a few thoughts.
I’m excited by e-recording - which may be a problem. Should we expect that our passion for everything cellular may not be widely shared?
One of the really interesting findings of research into M-pesa is that while daily volume is massive, individual balances are less than $3. It seems that while people will trust the system with their money for very short periods of time, they haven’t yet swooned over the opportunity to keep it on a ‘phone for the long-term when a bank is just down the road. The
We have come to appreciate within the two years of the HCE project in Cambodia, funded by the UC Davis Horticultural Innovations Lab and USAID, that bringing together disaggregated members of smallholder farming communities into savings groups is as important for scaling up the production of healthy and nutritious foods as the introduction of new farming technologies and practices. This pilot study examines how
In an earlier post, I tried, without success, to use bitcoin. Prior to writing that post, I was a believer in this new counterculture currency. Would this be something savings group members would like? Bitcoin seemed cool, subversive in a Height-Ashbury kind of way,
Mr. B is a good guy. He has worked with his bank to make it very easy for people without a lot of money to open an account and do business with the bank. He is using technology in creative ways, and I love it that lots of people who have never had a bank account before now have a convenient way to get the security
I spend most of my time in Africa helping to set up savings groups. These are small informal associations, made up of 15-25 people (mostly women) who regularly meet to save. The money is used as a loan fund, from which anyone in the group can borrow, paid back with interest - at a rate set by the group. At the end of a year all the loans are paid back (defaulting is very rare) and the money is shared out in proportion to what each person has saved. The returns are very high, averaging between 20-30%, because no-one receives a salary and the ‘office’ is usually under a tree! No wonder then that members prefer to save their money in the group instead of a bank, where they get no returns and charges eat away at their savings. I am constantly amazed to be paid for doing this and, in 44 years in development work, have never had such fun and felt so rewarded.
(This originally appeared in the Guardian Newspaper Unusual Jobs section).
National Public Radio has an interesting podcast called “A World Without Banks”. Here’s what they say on their site:
There’s this big idea floating around right now. It sounds crazy and fringey, but it turns out some non-crazy, non-fringey people are into it. The idea is this: let’s get rid of the banks. Don’t make them safer. Don’t make them smaller. Just get rid of them.
The podcast talks about peer-to-peer lending and other new technology-driven possibilities. Sometimes entire industries disappear when