Promoting Economic Security for Girls in South Africa
The Praekelt Foundation uses open source technologies to deliver essential information and vital services to more than 100 million people in over 54 countries. Partnering with governments, NGOs and social enterprises, it provides users with information, inspiration, and access to improve their health and wellbeing.
Using Stellar’s open-source protocol, Praekelt is working on a mobile wallet that allows people to save cash or airtime using Vumi, their messaging platform—think Whatsapp, but open source and designed for the developing world, with a focus on improving the economic security of girls in South Africa.
In the developing world, only 37% of women have bank accounts. Research from Women’s World Banking has shown that poor women are inherent savers, putting away 10-15% of their earnings for emergencies. Due to a lack of financial services, however, they’re forced to save in unreliable and sometimes expensive ways—women often hide cash in their homes, where it isn’t secure, or buy livestock, which can become ill or die.
We believe that low-cost and reliable methods for savings could have an enormous impact on women, as well as on their families and communities.
Vumi already powers South Africa’s national maternal healthcare program, MomConnect, which sends expectant mothers prenatal health information over the course of their pregnancies. After a successful launch in South Africa last year, Praekelt is introducing the service in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country. Since its founding, Praekelt’s programs have reached over 50 million people across 15 countries in sub-Saharan Africa.