Grameen Foundation Receives Funding from Citi Foundation to Expand Financial Inclusion in India


New Delhi, India, Sept. 5, 2014 - Grameen Foundation has received a grant from Citi Foundation to deliver integrated mobile financial services and mobile financial education to expand financial inclusion in India. The program will be managed by Grameen Foundation India (GFI), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Grameen Foundation.

Through this project, Grameen Foundation India, in partnership with Airtel Money and Sonata, a local microfinance institution, will use a human-centered design approach to deliver mobile banking services and education to Sonata’s female borrowers in the Northern State of Uttar Pradesh. The project goal is for clients to first start using the mobile phone as a channel for their loan repayments, with an eventual aim of expanding its use to a more extensive suite of products including airtime top-up, remittances, financial education and savings among others, as clients become comfortable with its use over time.  The project will also support Sonata and partner mobile network operators in making the appropriate internal operational shifts to deliver financial services effectively through this new, innovative partnership model.

The project will run from July 2014  to December 2015, and will involve 3 key phases:

  • Phase 1 – GFI will use a human-centered design approach to research client needs and behaviors, so that uptake and use of the mobile channel is optimized.
  • Phase 2 – GFI will formulate and operationalize the Airtel Money-Sonata partnership so that infrastructure, processes, people and resources are adapted to, and focused on serving the poor effectively.
  • Phase 3 – GFI will support the roll out of mobile-enabled transactions and delivery of mobile financial education to clients.

Significantly, since this model will focus on increasing the financial capability of poor households while ensuring a sustainable business case for all commercial entities involved, it can potentially be replicated and scaled. This is critical considering the scale of poverty in India.

Grameen Foundation is one of seven organizations to receive funding through Citi Foundation's inaugural Innovation Grant Program for India.