One of our key solutions to expanding financial inclusion for women in developing communities involves a tool that many young women already have access to: a mobile phone. As we expand our services in Asia, more young female loan clients will access voice-based content in their own language that will educate them about financial and digital literacy. The beauty of this delivery channel is two-fold:
- It works on even the most basic phone. This means we can magnify the utility of phones that young girls are already carrying.
- The protocol is very basic—simply dial preset numbers to access the information. You may have done this before yourself, perhaps to check your own bank balance or see how much data is left on your phone plan.
Here at Opportunity, I’ve seen many of our loan clients expand their knowledge, confidence, and skills using this technology. Not only does this benefit the young women themselves, but it fosters a more diverse and inclusive landscape, which is vital to tackle future challenges in the volatile, uncertain economies of the developing world.
Having a voice-based digital solution targets specific obstacles faced by young women in poor rural communities across Asia. For example, using a voice-recording removes the barrier of low-literacy and is well suited in the oral cultures where we work. Our solution also prepares women for the workforce by developing important skills in digital and financial literacy. It connects them to other successful female entrepreneurs, and it helps them to access credit and built a credit history.
Opportunity works with our local microfinance partners to help them establish the platform, and we teach them how to effectively use and tailor voice-based content to a wide array of areas to meet the specific needs of female clients. Partnering in this way is what makes our solution sustainable and scalable.
By leveraging the clients’ own mobile phones, utilizing voice-based content, and delivering solutions through our partners, Opportunity International is creating unprecedented opportunities to reach young women at scale, empowering them as tomorrow’s leading entrepreneurs.