Friday, 22 June 2012

Mobile Money: How Cell Phones Can Fight Hunger in the Sahel

Cell phones have the power to make this process significantly more efficient -- for both the organization and the affected communities. With mobile money transfer (m-transfer) technology, cash vouchers can be delivered instantly by phone and turned into cash by visiting a local mobile phone agent. This means that the organization does not have to go through the logistics of moving from village to village to hand out cash, potentially compromising the security of their staff and the people coming to receive it. It also means that community members no longer have to travel to a central distribution point, which often means leaving children and work at home.

Concern has successfully implemented m-transfer programs during previous food crises in Niger and Kenya. In April 2010, Concern launched the first m-transfer program in French-speaking Africa with a leading mobile provider, Zain (now Airtel Niger). In response to annual hunger gaps, the program delivered approximately $38 for three months and $47 for two months to vulnerable households across 116 villages using Zain's m-transfer service, ZAP. In a study conducted with Tufts University, Concern then measured how the money was being used and the household wellbeing of those receiving cash via m-transfer against those receiving it manually...

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