Caroline Ashley

Caroline focuses on how innovative economic models can deliver more inclusive and resilient development.

Caroline has worked on markets, business models and investment approaches that deliver social impact for many years in roles with challenge funds, impact investors, entrepreneurs, corporates, NGOs and policy makers. As Results Director of the DFID Business Innovation Facility, and Sida Innovations Against Poverty programme, she founded the Practitioner Hub for Inclusive Business in 2010, then took on hosting it, and acted as Editor of the Hub for 7 years before it transitioned into managed by IBAN.

Most recently Caroline led economic justice programmes at Oxfam GB, before moving to Forum for the Future, to lead global systems change programmes to accelerate our transition to a sustainable future.

Using mobile money and mobile banking in your organisation - the ifs, hows and whys

31. Oct 2012

There is increasing discussion and realisation about the role technology can play in both the private and third sectors - non more so that the 'hot topic' of Mobile Money Transfer (MMT) and Mobile Banking (MB). But 1) what is it 2) why would an organisation switch to using mobile MMT / MB and 3) how do you implement into your organisation?

The first question is the easiest to answer, in one word Mpesa and the seismic impact it has had in Kenya at a social, economic and even political level (it really kick started after the 2008 election violence). Increasingly the rest of East Africa is following suit, and so are selected other parts of the world where there are large numbers of unbanked. MMT is a method to do a financial transfer where the users only needs a mobile phone and NOT a bank account. MB is when you can do banking transactions via your phone.

The second question is also relatively straightforward to answer. Compared to cash transactions, MMT and MB is characterised as being: cheaper, safer, quicker, more transparent, traceable and convenient. Why then (you might be asking yourself) do we not already use it in our operations if there are all these benefits? Which brings us nicely on to the third question - how?

Like most organisations, you staff are probably already stretched (especially at senior management level) and therefore you may not have a project manager who can devote 100 per cent of their time to implement a cross department project for 6 months + (this is much more than just an IT project). Even if you do have such a manager, do they know the 'ins and outs' of MMT and MB for a successful implementation? One way to see if you do is look at the  mobile money and mobile banking checklist

If you don't have the resource, then you should look for a MMT + MB consultant, who ideally also understands A) the sector you work in and B) has in-country experience