Our Grantees

The Connected Women programme awarded 11 innovation grants to operators and NGOs in Africa and Asia. These grants provided seed funding for the design and launch of economically sustainable products and services which increase women’s access to and use of mobile phones and value-added services. They span a range of mobile products and services including mobile financial services, education and skills training, mhealth and full product offerings and brands for women.

All 11 products and services have launched and case studies have been published, which include information on their impact to date and lessons learnt. These case studies are available to read on the Mobile for Development Resources page.

All funding has been awarded for this phase of the programme.

Projects in Africa

Airtel Uganda

  • Company name: Airtel
  • Name of project:  Airtel Uganda: A Mobile Money Solution for Savings Groups
  • Project Location: Uganda
  • Type of grant: Seed
  • Partners: Grameen Foundation

In partnership with the Grameen Foundation, Airtel Uganda developed a mobile solution for women’s savings groups using the Airtel Money platform. Grameen Foundation conducted in-depth research into the activities and needs of these groups and identified key pain points. The new product  directly addressed these pain points by making the savings groups’ processes more secure, efficient and transparent.

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Etisalat Africa

  • Company name: Etisalat
  • Name of project: Weena: Moov’s Value Proposition for the Women of Togo
  • Project Location: Togo
  • Type of grant: Seed
  • Partners: Oliver Wyman

Etisalat, with its Moov affiliates, received a Connected Women grant to develop “Weena”, a bespoke brand aimed directly at rural women. The offering includes a tailored tariff plan based on the mobile usage of low-income women and a loyalty scheme that benefits not only individual women but the community as a whole. Airtime is distributed through a dedicated network of female community members, trained to support women in the use of mobile services.

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Grameen Foundation

  • Company name: Grameen Foundation
  • Name of project: Grameen Foundation: Bringing “Mobile Midwife” to Nigeria
  • Project Location: Nigeria
  • Type of grant: Seed
  • Partners: Local operators

In 2010, NGO Grameen Foundation launched a “Mobile Midwife” service for pregnant women in rural Ghana, providing subscribers with targeted, medically-proven information about their pregnancy through SMS or voice messages. With the Connected Women grant Grameen developed this service for Nigerian women with localised content in multiple languages and with a price point both accessible to the poor and commercially viable in the Nigerian market.

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HNI Madagascar

  • Company name: HNI
  • Name of project: HNI Madagascar: Information via mobile to tackle gender-based violence
  • Project Location: Madagascar
  • Type of grant: Seed
  • Partners: Airtel

NGO HNI was awarded a Connected Women grant to build on their successful voice-based 3-2-1 Information Service run in partnership with Airtel Madagascar. They created new content specifically designed for women. This new channel covers a wide range of topics on rights, development (education, entrepreneurship & financial advice), health, gender violence and trafficking, with each topic including referrals to trusted local practitioners for more information.

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Orange Mali

  • Company name: Orange
  • Name of project:  Orange Mali: Reaching women customers with mobile savings and insurance
  • Project Location: Mali
  • Type of grant: Seed
  • Partners: PSI, NSIA, MFS Africa

Orange Mali developed a mobile health financial service for low-income women and their families in partnership with global health NGO PSI, pan-African insurer NSIA, and mobile financial services expert MFS Africa. In a market where both fertility and maternal mortality rates are high, the product offers women a savings and micro-insurance service via Orange Money to cover pregnancy and delivery costs, and potential health complications.

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Tigo Tanzania

  • Company name: Millicom
  • Name of project:  A Mobile Business School: Tigo Tanzania and EduMe
  • Project Location: Tanzania
  • Type of grant: Seed

Tigo Tanzania was awarded a Connected Women grant to identify products and services that enabled them to better serve resource-poor women throughout Tanzania. The project began with in-depth consumer insights research on the lives, aspirations and needs of rural women. Having seen the demand for business training, Tigo designed a VAS which provides this via SMS and IVR to under-served women.

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Projects in Asia

Accion International

  • Company name: ACCION
  • Name of project: Swadhaar, Accion, and Airtel Money: Mobile money for female customers in India
  • Project Location: India
  • Type of grant: Seed
  • Partners: Swadhaar FinServe, Airtel Money

Accion, in partnership with Swadhaar, an Indian Microfinance Institution (MFI), and Airtel Money India, received a GSMA Connected Women grant to scale up their pilot of Swadhaar’s mostly female clients repaying their loans using mobile money. The grant also contributed to accelerating the initial education stage for mobile microfinance customers and testing ways to improve client adoption such as peer learning programs.

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BRAC Bangladesh

  • Company name: BRAC
  • Name of project: BRAC Bangladesh: Partnering for mEducation
  • Project Location: Bangladesh
  • Type of grant: Seed
  • Partners: British Council, Robi Axiata Ltd

BRAC received a Connected Women grant to partner with Robi Axiata Ltd and the British Council in Bangladesh to launch a mobile education service to help adolescent girls develop English skills to improve their employment prospects in the garment sector. BRAC and the British Council provided users, who had completed all modules of the course, with a certificate of achievement through a mobile identity solution developed by Robi Axiata.

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Ooredoo Myanmar

  • Company name: Ooredoo
  • Name of project: Ooredoo Myanmar: Myanmar, Mobile and Maternal Health
  • Project Location: Myanmar
  • Type of grant: Seed

The Connected Women grant supported Ooredoo Myanmar in developing the mobile health service ‘maymay’ to provide women with access to maternal healthcare information and advice. In a country with very low penetration of mobile (<8% of the population), Ooredoo launched a 3G only network, alongside a low cost smartphone. By providing intuitive, media-rich apps rather than SMS-based services, Ooredoo hope to overcome literacy barriers to mobile.

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  • Company name: SEWA
  • Name of project: SEWA RUDI: A customer-centric approach to designing mobile services for women
  • Project Location: India
  • Type of grant: Seed
  • Partners: Vodafone, Cherie Blair Foundation for Women

SEWA is a trade union of self-employed women in India. RUDI is an agricultural cooperative within SEWA owned and operated collectively by groups of SEWA women members that procures produce from smallholder farmers, adding value to that stock and sells then in the community through a network of “Rudibens” female sales agents. SEWA was awarded a Connected Women grant to improve their mobile-based inventory service RSV for Rudibens. The new enhanced service was more user-friendly, and incorporated Vodafone India’s M-PESA platform.

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Telenor India

  • Company name: Telenor
  • Name of project: Project Sampark
  • Project Location: India
  • Type of grant: Seed

Telenor India has developed a Combo-SIM product where one SIM can be used by a woman and the other by a male family member. With free minutes between the SIMs and recharging bonuses men are more likely to see the benefits in their wives or daughters having a mobile phone. The product is supported by a network of trained women sales agents, awareness campaigns and technical literacy initiatives.

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