Study: Phones empower women

Monday December 17 2018


By Halili Letea @hletea

Dar es Salaam. Financial inclusion becomes easy for women when they possess phones, according to new findings by Poverty Research for Development (Repoa).

The finding shows that about 70 per cent of women, who were provided with mobile phones, their mobile money usage improved.

“Before possessing mobile phones, their mobile money transactions stood at once per year, but after they started owning the phones, the transactions improved to once per week” said Mr Phillip Roessler, Co-Principal Investigator (CoPI) for the findings.

The study titled “Mobile phone ownership and women’s uptake of digital financial services” which sampled five regions in the country, has also revealed that women with basic phones use mobile money services more than those with smartphones.

According to him, despite having a bit similar results on both mobile phones, women use basic phones use mobile money services a bit more frequently that those with smartphones. Another CoPI, Dr Flarah Myamba,said a total of 2,000 women in the areas where samples were taken, were provided with mobile phones (both basic and smartphones) and cash.

“After one year, about 1,200 women had phones and most of them were using mobile money frequently while those provided with cash had a courage to starts business,” she explained.


She said the remaining 30 per cent of women were found with no phones and they claimed to have lost while others were taken by their husbands.

“The project benefited most of them, especially those with cash. Those given the mobile phones were using them for mobile money services like money storing and transferring,” she said, adding that the main challenge they faced them was poor knowledge of the mobile money services.

She further explained that most women depend on others in using mobile money services (family members, agents or any other person).

Elaborating why the study sampled only women, the Repoa executive director, Dr Donald Mmari, noted that they were aiming at finding challenges that face the women in accessing financial services.

The regions where the study was conducted are Arusha, Tanga, Ruvuma, Mwanza and Iringa. It was conducted between July 2016 and November 2017.