The United Nations Capital Development Fund’s (UNCDF) Mobile Money for the Poor Programme (MM4P) recognize the fact that when it comes to financial inclusion in Zambia, women are more likely than men to be financially excluded across both formal and informal services. Compared to their male counterparts, women in Zambia are at a disadvantage in accessing financial services. Although women make up 51% of the Zambian population, only 58% of women have access to formal or informal financial services (this includes banks, mobile money, savings groups combined) as opposed to 61% of men who have access to these same services.

One of the key objectives of the Mobile Money for the Poor Programme (MM4P) is to support DFS providers in Zambia to adopt a method of service delivery that suits the customer’s needs and wants. At a workshop recently held in Lusaka, UNCDF and representatives from various organizations including Airtel Money, FINCA Zambia, MTN Mobile Money, Zanaco and Zoona met to discuss one innovative approach, human centric design and iterative testing, that is changing how DFS providers approach product/service design and implementation to improve access and uptake. “For financial services, specifically digital financial services, to be accessible and useful to all Zambians, they must be designed taking into account the needs, wants and aspirations of the customer, including low-income and rural Zambians. At UNCDF, we believe that by adopting a human centric design (HCD) approach which elevates the customer to the “king/queen” status, we can promote increased financial inclusion for all Zambians.” said Ms. Uloma Ogba, UNCDF Zambia Knowledge Management Specialist.

“We want to see a significant increase in the uptake of digital financial services in the country, stated Airtel Zambia Sales Manager, Alfred Phiri. With the support of UNCDF, Airtel Mobile Money has conducted product tests to address issues such as liquidity management and is taking steps to implement the results of these tests in their operations. Other corporations in financial services performed similar tests and research where the prevalent finding was that the process of understanding the customer was often neglected.

To resolve the need for broader access to financial services, UNCDF has invested in initiatives such as the MM4P to not only promote financial inclusion but also bring human-centered design to DFS to improve the customer’s experience and the provider’s ability to provide services according the needs and wants of the consumer.

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