Cash transfers by phone in Kenya

Cash transfers by phone in Kenya

Using mobile phones, Concern distributed cash to over 3,000 people in the Kerio Valley, Kenya.

The project was a success, empowering the recipients, improving their lives and stimulating the local economy.

Pilot project

After the post-election violence in 2008, Concern needed a way to help people in the Kerio Valley. Food was scarce. So, the Kerio Valley cash transfer pilot was launched.

Concern worked with the Catholic Diocese of Eldoret and a mobile phone operator, Safaricom. Together, they developed a system that enabled cash transfers via text messages on mobile phones.

Making choices

People receiving the texts could use them to withdraw cash from mobile banks. This cash was then used to buy whatever supplies each person and their family needed.

Not everyone had a phone, so phones were sometimes shared between communities.

Was it a success?

It was found that the freedom to choose what they needed led to a sense of empowerment and dignity among recipients. An evaluation also found 70% of the cash was spent on food, with the remaining 30% spent on transport and other essential supplies.

The injection of cash also stimulated the local economy. Read the full evaluation.