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At Grameen Foundation, our goal is to spur innovation in the global movement to eliminate extreme poverty. Part of that work is to develop better solutions and share them with people like you.

On GF Insights, we share lessons learned from our leaders in the field, news about efforts to expand access to financial and information services for the poor, and how poverty-focused organizations are using data to improve the way they work.

Latest Posts

03/24/2014 by Camilla Nestor

You know mobile money for the unbanked is getting hot when there’s a standing-room-only crowd at the Mobile World Congress.

For the past five years, most of the conversation about using mobile phones to provide financial services to the poor has revolved around the success of M-PESA in Kenya. As more players enter this space, that discussion is now shifting to two inter-related issues that were recurring themes at this year’s conference: usability and user-centered design.

The concept of human-centered design in international development began taking root about five years ago and has only recently gained wider adoption in the financial services space. This was underscored in the Global Financial Development Report 2014, which pointed to the limited use of human-centered design processes as one of the reasons for the dearth of products and services that are “more conducive to financial inclusion.”

03/21/2014 by

One key area of Grameen Foundation’s work is collecting, analyzing and sharing data that can help us and other organizations create better tools and services for the world’s poor. Answering the “so what?” question makes the reams of data we collect more meaningful and helps us to deliver valuable insights to various audiences. That’s why we’re delighted that think-cell has agreed to provide their software free of charge. The think-cell presentation suite consists of different charts including waterfall, Marimekko, Gannt and also agenda capability through add-ins for Microsoft PowerPoint and Excel.

Using this software will help our teams around the world more effectively and quickly display information about our work, such as how poor people manage their money and healthcare and how targeted information benefits poor farmers. 

02/26/2014 by Camilla Nestor

Financial service providers see great potential in using mobile money to drive outreach and scale.  Mobile operators have aggressive strategies to increase market share by capturing new subscribers, which requires deeply penetrating the three billion people who live on less than $2.50 a day.  Yet, many of the services on offer are not designed around the needs, behaviors and capabilities of the poor.  We see the effects of this in low usage rates, preventing services from reaching scale and commercial viability.  In particular, services do not appear to be designed around the needs of poor women, excluding them from participating fully in the mobile revolution.  

02/19/2014 by Debbie Dean

Usability Tests in India

Mobile Financial Services (MFS) has received much attention as a way to further financial inclusion. But as we’ve written before, the mobile phone is not yet accessible enough to reach significant portions of the “unbanked”. Our research found that poor women in particular are left behind. Access, familiarity, convenience and security are significant issues.

At Grameen Foundation, we believe that these barriers can be addressed. We recently expanded on our initial research around gender and mobile financial services, taking a two-pronged approach. The first—which we’ll discuss here—was a partnership with InterMedia to utilize a mixed approach of qualitative and quantitative research methods in India and the Philippines. The second—which we’ll discuss in a separate posting next week—was a qualitative usability study in partnership with CKS in India, the Philippines, and Uganda.

02/08/2014 by
Bill Gates visits Grameen Foundation's MOTECH in Ghana

Bill Gates visits MOTECH, an mHealth joint initiative by Grameen Foundation and the Ghana Health Service

Comment boards lit up around the globe when Bill Gates declared that “by 2035, there will be almost no poor countries left in the world.” Not surprisingly, many scoffed at the idea, often citing examples from various countries. This reaction underscored an important fact that that was also highlighted in the Gates Annual Letter: outdated images of poverty are still very pervasive.