Airtel has partnerd with the Grameen Foundation to launch a project that aims to provide mobile financial services to over 45,000 chamas (Savings Groups) in Uganda.
Dubbed ‘Airtel Chama’ , the project aims at reducing Savings groups’ reliance on cash and seeks to introduce the benefits of mobile technology to approximately 900,000 people in Uganda. The Airtel Chama service is expected to help reduce fraud and theft from the predominatly cash-based chama. It’s also ecpected to bring efficient and transparent in the processes.
“In some cases, women cannot save their earnings because they are obliged to give any money they have to their husbands. With Airtel Chama, women’s savings are private and digitized; these women will be more empowered because their husbands will have a harder time taking their money away”, explains Chidi Okpala, the Director of Airtel Money Africa.
He added that Airtel hopes to use innovative telecommunications solutions to transform communities and praised the Chama initiative as one that will promote more economic transactions in the rural areas, lead to rural development and reduce poverty.
Airtel Chama service will also provide credit to those who don’t have access to it through traditional channels. Given that at least 70% of savings groups’ members are women, the innovative service will be a catalyst for women empowerment in Uganda. Thanks to the Chama platform, women will have better access to credit facilities and their loan applications will be processed faster in financial institutions. The Airtel Chama service answers the government call of empowering women and enabling them to contribute towards development.
GSMA mWomen has lauded Airtel Uganda’s efforts and has awarded the Innovation Fund grant to the telecommunications company. Airtel will use the money towards decreasing the gender gap in mobile access and increasing women’s use of mobile in Uganda. The Grameen Foundation will monitor the social impact of the Airtel Chama service on Ugandan women.
Airtel plans to further develop the Chama initiative and is eager to implement it across all its markets on the continent.