Jul 10, 2011

Press # to Escape Extreme Poverty: Savings-led Microfinance Mobile Banking in Kenya with M-PESA and Nuru International

How new mobile banking technology is providing financial services to Kenyan farmers who’ve never seen the inside of a bank.


Nuru International is a U.S.-based social venture that equips the poor living in remote, rural areas to end extreme poverty in their communities. Nuru is using innovative new technologies for mobile banking to increase access to basic financial services for rural households living in extreme poverty in Kuria, Kenya. The organization is working with Mifos cloud-based MIS and M-PESA mobile money transfer services to create a viable solution to some of the issues that persist in providing financial services in rural areas.

“One of the biggest problems we face when it comes to finance and banking for the extreme rural poor is how to disburse loans and payments to our farmers, we don’t want to give large amounts of cash to them because they have to cover long distances on foot, have no secure place to keep the cash, and robbery and theft are real concerns.” -- Vivian Lu, Community Economic Development Program Manager.

Nuru’s microfinance program has helped extend the reach of mobile money in rural Kenya. The combined technologies of Mifos and M-PESA have helped to create a branchless banking structure, allowing Nuru savings members in remote areas of Kenya access to some of the basic financial services that traditional banks offer. M-PESA is a mobile phone based money transfer service offered through Safaricom, allowing users to transfer money to other users, pay bills, and purchase air time. The service has great potential to be leveraged in mobile banking, allowing people to complete basic financial transactions without needing to visit a physical bank. Mifos is developing integration with M-PESA and allows Nuru an affordable way to scale. Because it’s a cloud-based application, Nuru can access it from mobile phones and netbooks, improving their reach in rural areas.

Nuru recognizes the importance of savings as a critical and often overlooked component to economic growth in rural areas. The Community Economic Development model is a savings-led program that offers financial training. Nuru members are trained in the fundamentals of financial planning, budgeting, saving, and responsible loan management, before they are eligible to apply for individual loans.

About Nuru International
Nuru International is a U.S.-based social venture that equips the poor living in remote, rural areas to end extreme poverty in their communities. Nuru is a Kiswahili word that means "light." Nuru International currently works in rural Kenya.

Jake Harriman founded Nuru International. He attended the U.S. Naval Academy and served in the U.S. Marine Corps as a Platoon Commander in both the Infantry and a Special Operations unit called Force Recon. Jake was awarded the Bronze Star for actions in combat during his second tour in Iraq. Harriman's combat experiences led him to the conclusion that extreme poverty was a contributing factor to global terrorism. Harriman left his career in the Marine Corps and enrolled at Stanford University's Graduate School of Business to start an organization that would fight terrorism by ending extreme poverty. Nuru International began operations in Kuria, Kenya in 2008. Nuru International is a  non-profit, public benefit charity.

Source: PR Web