GSMA mWomen awards Innovation Fund grants to HNI Madagascar and BRAC Bangladesh

The GSMA mWomen programme is delighted to announce that Human Network International (HNI) Madagascar and BRAC Bangladesh are the latest recipients of its Innovation Fund grants.

HNI is a global organization dedicated to bringing the benefits of technology to development.  With their partner Airtel Madagascar, they will build on their successful 321 Information Service which already reaches close to half of Airtel Madagascar’s 2.5 million subscribers.  In collaboration with local NGOs and government ministries, they will create new content for the 321 service specifically designed for women.  This new channel will cover 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.

BRAC is a development organisation working towards the Millennium Development Goals in 11 countries and reaching over 125 million people worldwide. BRAC will be partnering with Robi Axiata and the British Council in Bangladesh to launch a mobile service for adolescent girls to develop English skills to improve their employment prospects in the garment sector.   This project has the potential to reach large scale as the garment sector employs more than 4 million people in Bangladesh (WTO, 2008), of which 90% of are women. There is also empirical evidence to suggest that women have seen positive social changes and empowerment as a result of working in this sector (BRAC, 2013).  Another interesting aspect of this offer is that BRAC and the British Council plan to provide users, who have completed all modules of the course with a certificate of achievement through a mobile identity solution developed by Robi Axiata.

Over the course of both these projects, the programme hopes to generate insights on how life-enhancing Value Added Services can increase women’s access and use of mobile services.

HNI and BRAC join the following grantees in designing innovative offerings addressing the mobile gender gap in emerging markets: Tigo TanzaniaEtisalat Africa, Orange Mali and Airtel Uganda, Accion International, SEWA, Grameen Foundation and Ooredoo Myanmar. 

The GSMA mWomen Global Development Alliance is a programme in partnership with USAID, Australian DFAT, GSMA and Visa Inc.

Mahesh Nayak also contributed to this blog post.

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