The Shakti Foundation’s Mobile Money Model
Shakti Foundation, through USAID’s Mobile Solutions Technical Assistance and Research (mSTAR) program, is partnering with Airtel Bangladesh Limited to disburse micro-credit to farmers and salary payments to Shakti Foundation employees using mobile money. Under this project, Shakti Foundation for Disadvantaged Women disburses a total of 5 million Bangladeshi Taka (BDT) per month (about USD $63,500) to 1,000 staff and farmers. This mobile money model is advantageous to women for three reasons. First, both female staff and farmers have greater control over their money directly, as it is held in a mobile wallet offering greater privacy than cash payments. Second, it reduces the risk of gender-based violence often associated with carrying cash. And third, it reduces transactional and opportunity costs associated with traveling and waiting for cash payments, thereby allowing for greater investments in each recipient’s agricultural production.