Making cash digital is the key to possibility.

When poor women control their own money, it no longer controls them.

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Screenshot of Smart Phone with digital financial services app

In poor communities, women run the household, but husbands control the money. And it’s not money the way we think of it—in the bank, one click bill pay, easily transferred to family and friends—it’s just, well, cash. Cash that always seems to have a way of getting spent, not saved for life’s emergencies or children’s education. Cash she can’t control.

Cash dependency also steals a significant amount of time and money from poor women. Often the nearest cash transfer service is a half a day’s journey. It can consume an entire day to collect cash from government public services or employers. And it’s expensive. Cash transaction fees can be as much as 90% higher than digital fees.

With a simple feature phone and digital financial services designed for her, a woman can finally access the money she needs to grow a small business, weather a crisis, invest in her farm or provide health care and education for her children. Learn more, see Kusum’s story

Financial inclusion allows people to save for family needs, borrow to support thier business, or build a cushion against an emergency. Having access to financial services is a critical step towards reducing both poverty and inequality, and new data on mobile phone ownership and internet access show unprecedented opportunities to use technology to achieve universal financial inclusion.  
— World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim
The last mile is digital.
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The Grameen Foundation Model to fight poverty: technology with a human face.

Good for women. Good for the family farm. Good for everyone.

Diagram Grameen Community Agents connecting the poor to Mobile Money and Digital Farming tools Diagram of how Grameen Community Agents connect the poor to Mobile Money and Digital Farming tools
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More than four billion people in emerging markets—or 62% of the population—now benefit from access to mobile phones. It is hard to appreciate just how much the revolution in mobile technology is changing social systems and the potential for economic stability.

Poverty is sexist because economic systems are built for men. The persistent gender gap in mobile phone ownership (10%) and mobile money (33%) proves it. Reasons vary by region and culture, but digital and financial inclusion is only possible when women are at the center of product and service creation. That’s why Grameen Foundation’s Mobile Money and Digital Farming efforts are designed around the needs and realities of poor, rural women.

The Grameen Foundation Model is designed to connect poor women and farmers to affordable digital financial services and digital farm development plans through trusted local Community Agents. Local agents who understand their clients, and their daily lives, can help them overcome many real and perceived barriers to digital use like affordability, accessibility, skills, relevance or concerns about safety and security. With these barriers broken down, women are embracing their power to make informed decisions about how to save and manage money for the good of their families, and how to actively manage their farms to improve their crop output. Learn more about the advanced technology that goes into our mobile money initiatives.

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Coffee, cocoa and the cutting edge.
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33%
of poor women
lack access
to mobile money

What does it mean for a woman to finally have mobile money services?
Four big benefits.

Grameen Community Agent training to offer Digital Financial Services

A safe way to collect, send, save and borrow money

Digital technology and mobile phones are changing how we can solve poverty. Now millions of poor women are able to connect to digital financial services that give them a voice and control over how their money is spent, saved, borrowed and invested back into their farms and small businesses.

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Agent helping customers with biometric device

Someone who understands you. And how to help you manage your money.

When there are no bank branches or ATMs, poor women are trapped into a cash-only existence, making it difficult to ever get ahead. Grameen Foundation develops networks of Grameen Community Agents, often female leaders in their communities, who are better able to relate to and connect poor, rural women and households to essential financial services with mobile phones. See Kusum’s story

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Smallholder Farmers plowing field

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Smallholder farmers need access to savings, affordable loans, layaway for farming inputs, and digital payments to buy supplies and sell their crops if they are to ever have food and financial security. Yet only a small minority of rural adults in poor countries have bank accounts. When farmers have a digital footprint and move from cash to digital money management, it opens up full financial inclusion in the agricultural value chain and enables them to reinvest in their farms.

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Indian woman and daughter in field

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Microfinance is a powerful self-help tool for the poor made much stronger with complementary services to improve health, nutrition and food security, and connect smallholder farmers and their families to training, information and markets.

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