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FINCA Tanzania uses digital technology to expand financial literacy

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  • The NetHope Blog
  • July 10, 2019
FINCA Tanzania uses digital technology t

Above:  Finance is undergoing a digital transformation. This transformation is most palpable in emerging markets like Tanzania, where digital channels are providing many people with access to financial services for the first time.


FINCA was one of 17 recipients of the 2017 NetHope Device Challenge which offered $5.5 million in funding thanks to a grant from Google.org, the charitable arm of Google. The program was managed through NetHope, enabling organizations to purchase and deploy devices (phones, tablets, PCs) to aid in innovative humanitarian and conservation efforts, spanning both geographies and sectors.

The new digital landscape promises tremendous opportunity, but also presents new risks. Clients can benefit from innovative ways to access credit, but they need products with built-in safeguards against fraud and over-indebtedness. Clients also need tools, including financial literacy training and technical support, to help them get the most out of new products hitting the market.

FINCA International (FINCA) was founded on the premise that giving small loans to the poor would power transformation in entire communities in a sustainable way. After impacting tens of millions of lives with responsible financial services, FINCA is widening its focus to catalyze further economic growth and alleviate poverty in underserved markets around the world. FINCA was also one of 17 recipients of the 2017 NetHope Device Challenge which offered $5.5 million in funding thanks to a grant from Google.org, the charitable arm of Google, managed through NetHope for organizations to purchase and deploy devices (phones, tablets, PCs) to aid in innovative humanitarian and conservation efforts, spanning both geographies and sectors. the NetHope Device Challenge  grant allowed FINCA to roll out its Digital Field Automation (DFA) program allowing customers to open accounts remotely in less than 10 minutes ― a tremendous improvement from the previous process that required travel to a bank and took 30-45 minutes.

FINCA Microfinance Bank Limited (FINCA Tanzania) has taken its lessons and experiences to heart. To empower its clients to benefit from digital financial services, FINCA Tanzania (the Tanzania-based subsidiary of FINCA Impact Finance which was the NetHope grantee) recently produced a series of short educational videos on financial and business literacy. The videos were produced under the auspices of the NetHope Device Challenge initiative to help customers learn how to manage their money in the digital age.

A Simple Way to Empower Consumers

A screenshot from one of the animated videos FINCA has produced through funding from the NetHope Device Challenge to help customers learn how to manage their money in the digital age.

The videos are designed for general audiences; each is produced in Swahili (the local language) with English-language subtitles. They are also visually oriented, conveying valuable information through simple, relatable scenarios.

For example, two women microentrepreneurs discuss how to effectively manage cash flow, or an aspiring entrepreneur receives advice on how to improve a poor credit score. Each video involves narration of “good” and “bad” examples of how to manage a business, concluding with a summary of best practices to follow.

Each video is devoted to one common pain point faced by clients. Here are some examples:

  • Customers not being fully aware of their rights or of common DOs & DON’Ts for using digital delivery channels;
  • Customers mixing family and business expenses, negatively affecting business performance and their ability to repay loans or make savings;
  • Customers not having consistent saving habits, negatively affecting how they grow their business and deal with unexpected financial issues; and
  • Loan recipients using loans for consumer expenses, negatively affecting repayment and business sustainability.

In addressing these pain points, each video aims to increase the viewer’s understanding of financial products and services. This includes how to access necessary services via digital channels. Notably, the videos were created to be disseminated through FINCA Microfinance Bank Limited’s growing digital infrastructure (tablets, screens at displayed branches, social media channels).

Financial Literacy Part of Double Bottom Line

The e-learning initiative with NetHope supports FINCA Impact Finance’s double bottom line of commercial sustainability and positive social impact. By giving FINCA Tanzania clients the tools to effectively manage their finances and business operations, the initiative will boost the performance of their businesses. With better money management and business results, FINCA Tanzania customers will be in a better position to both repay their loans and build savings.

FINCA operates on the realization that access alone isn’t enough to achieve true financial inclusion. Clients in emerging markets need more than access to credit and bank accounts to achieve economic empowerment. They need financial products that promote their financial well-being, and the necessary tools to get the most out of those products.


Other Device Challenge blog posts:

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