Women-based networks of community finance workers are overcoming barriers that prevent 1.7 billion people worldwide from gaining access to formal financial services in poor communities. The networks, organized by Grameen Foundation, have brought financial services to nearly 1.3 million people through hundreds of newly trained community finance workers.
"A new model of female finance workers, drawn from the communities they serve, is transforming access to financial resources in poor and rural communities," said Lauren Hendricks, executive vice president of Grameen Foundation. "Many of the finance workers live in poverty and have limited schooling — yet they are on the front lines of empowering women to build better lives."
Known as Grameen Mitras in India and as Community Agents in the Philippines, the women participate in training programs that overcome low literacy levels by using technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, interactive voice response and multimedia over mobile phones. Once trained in digital and financial skills, the community agents provide their neighbors with digital access to financial resources needed to improve their lives. The agents earn a small fee per transaction, making them entrepreneurs in their own right.