REPOA staff listening to Phase 3 initial findings on Women's Access and Usage of Digital Financial Services project.
REPOA in collaboration with researchers from the College of William and Mary and Brigham Young University is conducting a study to assess the impact of mobile phone ownership among female business owners in Tanzania. The project is supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The project also involves Kidogo Kidogo (which means “little by little” in Swahili), a social enterprise founded to reduce the gender gap in mobile phone ownership in Tanzania. Kidogo Kidogo uses proceeds from the sale of smartphone cases designed by a Tanzanian-based artist to provide cost-free mobile handsets to low-income women. Phase one of the study carried out in 2015 demonstrated that phone ownership led to improvements in participants’ access to market information and overall business operations while causing no negative effects in terms of the recipients’ family relations or personal security.
Phase two of the research, which involved 400 female small-holder farmers in Rufiji and Kilwa Districts was completed in May 2016. Evaluation of results is underway. Phase three of the project was also launched in 2016 and involves a cross-section of 2,000 Tanzanian women from urban, peri-urban and rural localities. The third phase runs for one year and will analyze the effect of basic mobile phones, smartphones, data plans, and solar-powered chargers on women’s welfare and their uptake of digital financial services. For further details on the results and progress of the study, see https://philiproessler.net/research/mobile-phones-and-womens-empowerment/