In countries across Africa, mobile money is increasingly being used by humanitarian organizations to deliver cash and voucher assistance (CVA) to refugees and internally displaced people. However, there is still a large chasm of knowledge and experience between the humanitarian and mobile money sectors, which needs to be bridged to successfully implement this technology in challenging humanitarian scenarios.
This project built two training curriculums, which extend beyond the previous work done to create a CVA operational handbook for mobile money operators and a strategic guidance note for humanitarian practitioners on this topic. The trainings distill key messages from the publications, weaving them into case studies and small group exercises, which guide participants to deepen their understanding of the concepts, and apply them to the operating environments in which they are working.
One training is designed for humanitarian practitioners. It covers the basics of how mobile money systems function, and then guides participants to envision how a bespoke mobile payments system could improve the way they deliver humanitarian aid. The course points out that most existing mobile money systems are not designed for the specific needs of humanitarian agencies, but in many cases provide the best foundation for building the payments service that is needed.
After this, the course uses small group activities to show how mobile money operators develop a business cases and introduces a framework for understanding the other salient factors they weigh when making investments. This perspective is then used to guide participant thinking on formulating a mutually beneficial partnership with a mobile money provider that results in a customized, sustainable mobile payments solution for humanitarian crises.
The other training is designed for mobile money operators. It begins with a basic introduction to the humanitarian sector and its journey towards delivering higher proportions of aid as cash transfers during crises. This is creating a sizable opportunity for mobile money operators in countries with humanitarian crises, however, those interested must have carefully thought out strategies as the opportunity will not align with the priorities of all providers.
It then takes participants through a bidding exercise from a humanitarian organisation seeking a mobile money operator to distribute aid for them. It highlights the key factors they need to understand during the bidding and contracting processes, and gives advice for entering the sector and creating a sustainable competitive advantage. This includes, (a) taking a long-term view on revenue, (b) aggressively on-boarding customers adjacent to the humanitarian CVA beneficiaries, (c) seeking humanitarian subsidies for initial capital expenditures (capex), and (d) investing in innovation in service quality that will differentiate them from competitors.
If you are interested in either of these trainings, you should contact the GSMA Mobile for Humanitarian Innovations Team.