The mWater story through photos: Water accessibility with DFS+
How can digital finance assist the poor in attaining basic necessities? DFS+ is a term for digital financial services that enable the poor to have better access to basic utilities of life including health services, water and education.
How can digital finance assist the poor in attaining basic necessities? DFS+ is a term for digital financial services that enable the poor to have better access to basic utilities of life including health services, water and education. mWater is one such service that provides digital solutions to help find better access to clean water.
PHB would like to share some powerful photos of the daily struggles to
access clean water in Benin. It is hoped that these photos demonstrate the need
and amount of effort for the poor to access water.
mWater is a project of Manobi, Mobile for
Development, that serves 150 water systems in Benin. The “Services to Improve
Rural Water Service Performance in Benin” project links administrators,
operators, managers, inventory agents and households to make water resources
more accessible for the poor. PHB Development assisted GSMA and Manobi in
various data and linkage aspects of this project.
Philippe Breul and Jean Pouit of PHB trained data collection agents in the field to gather data for a baseline survey to be supervised by GSMA. After meeting stakeholders including the World Bank, the PHB team met mobile network operators (MTN, Moov), CePEPE, and banks before field visits in the Sakété and Zogbodomey regions in December 2015. The goal was to better understand the mWater ecosystem: operators, final users, and mobile agents. After training data-collection agents for each region, a questionnaire was finalized to feed the baseline survey, and then validated by GSMA in 2016. Furthermore, PHB along with the other supporting organizations of the project helped establish links with mobile money agents for the payment of water usage.
Manobi converging solutions (Mobile 2 Internet) are optimizing the
performance of this industry. They are exploited in rural and urban locations
in several areas:
Participatory management of the infrastructure of access to water
Maintenance of rural networks of water access
Curative and preventive maintenance of water supply in an urban area
Regulation of operations and maintenance
Mapped inventory and inspection of water networks
For more information on the project, please contact Jean Pouit at
Contribution: Jean Pouit
Rural Development & Financial Inclusion
People in rural and low-income areas can now open new economic opportunities to participate in even basic systems which they previously could not access.
Alone no more: Rural Communities finding Financial Inclusion
Not so long ago, rural communities far away from urban centres of business were left with few external resources to build their economic activity and raise standards of living. This scenario has changed.
People in rural and low-income areas can now open new economic
opportunities to participate in even basic systems which they previously could
not access. An increasing number of microfinance institutions (MFIs) and
other financial inclusion services are catering to the poor in rural areas and
empowering people to provide for their own needs and to rise from impoverished
The results are communities that are more productive and less vulnerable
to natural and human risks. Safer housing structures, engagement in education,
access to health care, and improved water/sanitation facilities are some
benefits that are resulting.
Services such as small loans that enable basic entrepreneurship are
simple operations with far-reaching impacts on the local economic cycle. Credit
services are tailored for different consumers to meet their needs:
Agriculture leases (helping farmers endure low
seasons and thrive in good seasons)
Education loans (investing in the future of the
communities as a whole)
Consumer loans (building potential for a healthy
Housing loans (enabling a more secure existence for
Remittance services are also popular in rural areas for family members to regularly transfer money to each other. Women, youth and the disabled are benefitting in particular from modern systems, as these groups may have been previously deprived of financial services and resulting earning opportunities.
Digital financial services (DFS) enable business transactions that also save users from the time and cost of travel to financial institutions. The savings accounts offered by MTN MoKash and Airtel Wewolw are examples of services with which people can save and access their money through mobile wallets without worrying about security issues.
Of course, there are risks for MFIs from issues such as high default rates that may discourage some providers. Making a positive social impact in challenging situations requires a certain level of commitment and expertise, and PHB Development is glad to be a leader in this sector of enabling low-income rural areas to become more prosperous and resilient.