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Games and mobile insurance: a new frontier for insuring the poor in Kenya

Poor people in Kenya are acutely aware of the risks they and their families face every day. But they see insurance as a luxury for rich people. This short film follows one attempt to use human-centered design to find out how to engage the poor. The team explores whether interactive games and entertainment on the mobile phone can be used to engage customers with insurance products.

“Gaming and having fun is really a new frontier for financial services,” says Peter Gross, Africa regional director for MicroEnsure.

The ambitions for what games can do for insuring the poor goes well beyond Nairobi’s slums—potentially to 17 different markets in Africa through the partnership MicroEnsure has with Airtel, one of the top mobile providers in the region, and well beyond.

Islamic Microfinance Challenge: Pakistan

Wasil Foundation, Pakistan, was named the winner of the 2013 Islamic Microfinance Challenge for providing smallholder farmers with Sharia-compliant financing. “To alleviate poverty from the country,” says Farida Tariq in this video, “We have to focus on the farmers. Some of the farmers are very religious and they will not opt for interest-based lending.”

Written, produced, and directed by Jeanette Thomas
Filmed and edited by Peter Cairns.

bKash me: mobile money in Bangladesh

bKash, a mobile money service offered by BRAC bank in Bangladesh, is making it easier and cheaper for the urban poor to send money to family in rural areas, where financial access is low and poverty rates are high. Rather than having to physically transport remittances to family members, people can now do it through mobile money transfers. “For many people, the use of bKash is perhaps the first and only option for a formal financial service,” says Kamal Quadir, bKash CEO.
Today bKash has become a verb in Bangladesh: “bKash me” means send me money. Shameran Abed, Head of Microfinance at BRAC, notes “It brings a lot more people into the formal financial sector.”

Written, produced, and directed by Jeanette Thomas.
Filmed and edited by Peter Cairns.

Bancarización: bringing a savings product to market in Mexico

Mexican banking meets California design in this film about creating a savings product for low income Mexicans.
22 million households in Mexico are middle and low income. Only half of them have a bank account. So CGAP brought in, the non-profit arm of the California design firm known for pioneering human-centered design to work with Bancomer, one of Mexico’s largest banks, and come up with a product that will open the market to low income savers.
Camera Peter Cairns. Produced and directed by Jeanette Thomas.

Eko: Chasing the Fortune at the Base of the Pyramid

Abhishek and Abhinav Sinha created a software program that allows migrant workers in India to send money using a cellphone. Now their company, Eko Financial Services Ltd., is working with two major banks, the State Bank of India and ICICI, India’s second largest bank, to offer financial services to poor and low income customers using local agents—mom and pop stores, pharmacies, and airtime resellers—as cashpoints.

This short film profiles Eko agents and customers to see how businesses chasing the fortune at the base of the pyramid are serving the needs of poor customers in India.

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