FistulaCare | 2011
Posted on

“M-PESA” (“pesa” means “money” in Swahili), which is the mobile banking product of Vodafone, is used by 13 million customers in Kenya and another six million in Tanzania. While several cell phone companies have introduced m-banking, Vodafone dominates the market. The amount of money transferred between phones on Safaricom (Vodafone’s local operator in Kenya) is equivalent to 11% of the country’s gross domestic product. Most of these transactions are tiny, rarely exceeding US$20. Through M-PESA, coffee growers pay their field workers by text message, farmers submit insurance claims in cases of crop failure, customers pay utility bills, and people buy bus and even movie tickets. Increasingly, innovative programs are enabling isolated people to reach health services, including fistula repair. Mobile banking has become a vehicle to not only strengthen the financial capacity of individuals, but also reduce their isolation and vulnerability.