Share and Learn: Verification Workshop on Financial Inclusion for Refugees in Tanzania

  • August 06, 2018

  • Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania

“These tools give me a clearer vision of what successful financial education looks like, which is important as we move towards the implementation of the National Financial Education strategy in Tanzania.”
- MS. Massawe from the Bank of Tanzania

On the July 26th, 2018, 45 stakeholders from UN agencies, embassies, NGOs, private sector, and the Tanzanian government convened to hear and discuss the results of UNCDF’s pilot program on access to finance for refugees in the Nyarugusu Refugee Camp. During the half-day workshop, held in Dar Es Salaam, UNCDF and partners Arifu, MicroSave, and Fundación Capital shared the experiences of the pilot program, which expanded access to finance for nearly 2,500 refugees (65% women) through savings groups and digital financial literacy over a nine-month period. This program aims to bridge the gap between traditional livelihoods programming and financial inclusion, creating a more holistic approach for achieving increased economic empowerment and resilience for refugees, particularly women.

The workshop showcased the technological financial education tools developed with partners Arifu, MicroSave, and Fundación Capital for the pilot. Arifu is a digital tool that uses SMS messaging to teach refugees about important aspects of financial management including savings, budgeting, and mobile money. Jijenge, developed by Fundación Capital, is an equally innovative tablet-based platform that currently has two modules on mobile money.

Following an introduction to these technologies, UNCDF partners presented market research findings, as well as outlined the process of curriculum design. The presentations were followed by an interactive session where participants gathered in small groups to explore Jijenge and Arifu on the tablets and phones provided, using real refugee profiles to go through the content as if they were the program beneficiaries.

©The interface of Jijenge App showing the module on how to use mobile money.

“[The Jijenge App] is very interesting! It is easy to understand, follow, and learn even for refugees who have low levels of literacy,” said one NGO participant. Other participants echoed this positive feedback. “These tools are innovative ways to use technology and they are very easy to use.” Participants identified UNCDF’s unique approach of pairing technological tools with face-to-face training as a method that could inform other programs and be replicated and adapted in different contexts.

Ms. Massawe from the Bank of Tanzania appreciated seeing how technology could shape financial education in practice, “these tools give me a clearer vision of what successful financial education looks like, which is important as we move towards the implementation of the National Financial Education strategy in Tanzania.”

The workshop was concluded with a panel discussion on results. Stakeholders learned that after only three months of implementation, 9.3 million Tanzanian Shillings (TZS) in deposits were mobilized, and program beneficiaries were able to save the equivalent of a month’s income (more than 40,000 TZS). Following the results sharing, workshop participants contributed to a lively and fruitful discussion, proposing improvements to the design of the learning tools and engaging on the implications of improved digital financial literacy on refugee’s livelihoods within the camp.

©Workshop participants exploring Arifu.

The workshop allowed UNCDF and partners to collectively generate creative and innovative insights, drawing stakeholders’ attention to our progress and vision. While the audience learned about UNCDF’s actions on the ground, they also contributed ideas for the refinement of the current financial education tools and delivery mechanisms.

Phase II of the program is now underway, with an official launch on July 2nd. Building on the successes of the pilot phase, the program’s second phase will work with implementing partners Good Neighbors Tanzania (GNTZ), Danish Refugee Council (DRC) and International Rescue Committee (IRC) to form new and strengthen existing savings groups in all three Tanzanian refugee camps and in the host community. UNCDF will continue working with pilot partners to implement Arifu and expand Jijenge to include modules on savings and budgeting. Keep your eye out for more exciting results from this program as Phase II progresses!

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