Promoting Women’s Financial Inclusion Through Mobile Money Enterprises in Ghana

Posted on 09/14/2022

Ayisha, a mobile money agent in Ghana, assists her client, Fuseini, who is wearing a blue flowered head covering
Fuseini, left, conducts a transaction at Ayisha's Agent kiosk. Credit: Grameen Foundation

Fuseini lives in rural Ghana–far away from the nearest brick-and-mortar bank–and makes a living as a trader, processing rice while her husband farms. She is 40 years old and has five children, three of whom are living. And she is a typical client of Grameen’s Community Agent Network in Ghana.

Like many in her community, she visits mobile money Community Agents regularly to withdraw funds and access business resources. She knows that Agents can be a source of digital financial information, too, advising on how to conduct transactions or take out loans.

But recently, she switched from having a male mobile money Agent to working with her neighbor Ayisha, and it’s been a game changer. She can disclose things with her that she couldn’t with a male agent–and feels comfortable discussing her children’s school fees and health issues.

While it seems like a simple shift, this gender dynamic is important–not just when it comes for women to discuss mobile money transactions, but in other areas, too.

Grameen Foundation's WE-GAIN Program in Ghana

Grameen’s WE GAIN program in Ghana—which is part of the Women and Girls Empowered (WAGE) consortium—aims to train 90 female mobile agents, known as digital financial services plus agents (WE GAIN DFS+ agents) who can collectively reach 9,000 clients like Fuseini. As they are trained on and provide both digital financial services like mobile banking, and also health and gender-based violence reduction resources, WE GAIN DFS+ Agents can build trust with other women in the community—and particularly, those who experience gender-based violence (GBV), which affects about a third of all women in that region.

As part of our work in international development, we have a responsibility to dig into the gender norms and barriers that exist in a given region. What may be a steep barrier in one country may not exist in another. So Grameen, ABA ROLI, and its local partners–RISE Ghana, Ghana Developing Communities Association (GDCA), MTN Ghana, and HealthKeepers Network–conducted a gender analysis and rapid needs assessment to gain a sense of what our WE GAIN DFS+ Agents and their clients experience on a daily basis, and how we can adapt our services to accommodate gender norms and barriers.

Visit the WAGE blog to learn what we found.

In September, we also held a virtual event—with representatives from ABA ROLI, MTN Ghana, GDCA, RISE-Ghana, and HKN, as well as from S/GWI—to go over these findings and discuss the project in-depth. If you’d like to know more about the project, you can find the recording here.

The Women Entrepreneurs in Northern Ghana Gain Access to Integrated services via Agent Networks (WE GAIN) is a Women and Girls Empowered (WAGE) consortium initiative. It is led by Grameen Foundation in partnership with the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative, private-sector network operator MTN, and three civil society organizations: Ghana HealthKeepers Network (HKN), Ghana Developing Communities Association (GDCA), and Rural Initiatives for Self-Empowerment Ghana (RISE Ghana).

WE-GAIN is funded by the U.S. Department of State Secretary’s Office of Global Women’s Issues (S/GWI).

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