Pilot Project Report: Using Mobile Money to Link Savings Groups to Financial Institutions
This case study highlights the lessons learned from a pilot project undertaken by Freedom from Hunger to facilitate financial linkages to savings groups in Northern Burkina Faso through Airtel Money. The pilot was conducted with the objective of developing effective partnerships among stakeholders, adapting Airtel Money to meet the needs of savings groups, developing a financial education module, and supporting local implementing NGOs. The study describes in detail the experience in establishing and executing the linkage program and also highlights the challenges that need to be addressed to promote the use of mobile money in other underserved regions. Key challenges include:
- Illiteracy of some group members creates difficulties in managing their Airtel Money accounts;
- In some areas, it is difficult for phones to receive the Airtel signal, but members are encouraged to travel to areas near a signal;
- Some groups fear they will be victims of fraud or that their PIN code will not work and they will lose access to their funds, or that the fees for making withdrawals will become burdensome;
- Agents know that some women still want to keep their money in cash at home and that they do not trust the system yet.