Julia Arnold is a Program Associate for Grameen Foundation’s Microsavings initiative. If you have any questions for Julia about her time in India with the members of Cashpor, she will answer them here in the comments section.
In July, on behalf of Grameen Foundation’s Microsavings initiative, I went to Cashpor Microcredit in Varanasi, India, to conduct research on mobile phone use among its savings and credit clients. The microfinance institution (MFI) began offering savings services via mobile phones in July 2011, providing a vital financial service to its clients to which they would not otherwise have access. Building assets through a safe, reliable savings account helps the poor plan for the future and mitigate the risk of small, unreliable incomes.
Though we understood that a majority of Cashpor clients had some access to a mobile phone before the MFI began offering the savings services, there is global evidence that poor women have limited access to and literacy with mobile devices. We wanted to know if the mobile phone requirement in Cashpor’s program limited the ability of its clients, all of whom are female, to access the savings services.