Thursday, March 26, 2015

Interactive Webinar Recap with Professor Kusimba and M-Changa

In a truly interactive webinar with live questions and live polls, the NetHope Payment Innovations team hosted IMTFI Fellow Professor Sibel Kusimba and CEO Kyai Mullei & Rajan Trivedi from the Kenyan startup M-Changa on a panel titled, “Mobile Money, The Social Network Effect, and Philanthropy - Recent Research from Kenya and Product Innovation From M-Changa.” The webinar recap "A Glimpse into Future of Mobile Money Societies in the Global South" and recording of the webinar are now available.
Presentations by Professor Kusimba and M-Changa.

Professor Kusimba offers an anthropological perspective with her research. She found that the use of mobile money in western Kenya is evenly split among three categories: urgent needs, everyday expenses, and social payments. She was surprised to discover that some of the most profound emotions people have were closely connected to sending mobile money.

“What really struck me was just how important mobile money is not just as an economic support network or practice, but as an important cultural and social practices as well. People use these remittances of mobile money to express their close relationships – especially to people who are geographically dispersed,” she said.

Professor Kusimba offered an illuminating metaphor for the fusion of traditional culture with mobile money. She observed a coming of age celebration in which the boy used his phone to receive donations from friends and family in addition to traditional gifts (e.g. livestock, prepared meal prepared) – an interesting mix of the traditional practices combined with new mobile money practices used to bring the family together.

“What this says to me is that people don’t necessarily want to stop doing what they’re doing and do something new, rather, they want to keep doing what they’re doing, but they want new capabilities and new, better, more efficient ways of doing what they’re already doing and value,” she said.

Read more on the NetHope roundup and listen to additional research insights that build the impetus for financial inclusion tools like those provided by M-Changa, an end-to-end mobile fundraising management platform that takes M-PESA to the next level and allows users to create and manage fundraisers using mobile phones and SMS.

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