The Praekelt Foundation, a non-profit that seeks to use technology to help millions in Africa, is using the open source protocol developed by cryptocurrency organization Stellar to develop a mobile wallet.
The wallet will allow people to save cash or airtime using Praekelt’s own messaging platform, Vumi, with a focus on helping the economic situation of girls in South Africa. Vumi is similar to Whatsapp but is open source and designed for the developing world.
Joyce Kim, Executive Director of Stellar, blogged this about the project:
When Stellar began digging into this issue, we met the team at Praekelt Foundation, an amazing nonprofit based in South Africa that has been using open-source technologies to deliver essential information and inclusive services to millions of people living in poverty.
Vumi is alreadly the core of South Africa’s national maternal healthcare program, MomConnect, which messages expectant mothers prenatal health information during their pregnancies. After being launched in South Africa last year, Praekelt is introducing the service in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country. Since its establishment, Praekelt’s programs have apparently helped over 50 million people across 15 countries in sub-Saharan Africa.
Vumi’s financial infrastructure permits anyone to open a personal savings account, deposit airtime, an alternative currency, and withdraw it later.
The savings program is currently a pilot project in South Africa which promotes early financial encourages early financial literacy. For many in the program, Vumi is their first formal savings account. There are plans to expand Vumi to Kenya and Nigeria,
Vumi’s pilot program and its focus on girls closely aligns with our core mission at Stellar—financial access for all. Through careful research and measurement, Vumi aims to demonstrate that accepting airtime while also offering incentives and education will result in increased savings and improved financial security for girls.
Girls who are saving small amounts for school fees today could be contributing monetarily in their homes and communities in a few years. We want to start investing in that future now.