The impact of saving with mobile money transfer technology on the livelihoods of rural wage-earning women : a case study in Maragua District, Kenya.
Information and communication technologies have been shown to potentially aid in leveraging financial inclusion among low-income groups. This study investigates whether mobile money transfer technologies can be utilised by women in an empowering way within rural agricultural settings. Through a case study focusing on rural women in the agricultural Kenyan context, the research explores whether the savings mechanism offered by mobile money transfer technologies is being utilised. Guided by a qualitative research approach, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 28 purposively selected women in the Gakoigo sub-location in the Maragua district, of Central Province, Kenya, some of whom used mobile money transfer technologies and others who did not. The Choice Framework was applied to the findings gathered in order to provide an in-depth and holistic understanding of how mobile money transfer technologies provided women engaged in rural wage labour access to new financial options. The findings show that some of the choices made by these women, including the usage of both formal and informal savings, complements their current financial practice, as well as the achievements attained as a result this choice. The study finds that although mobile money transfer technologies do benefit women who make use of mobile savings, pre-existing policies have formed structures within institutions and organisations which do not cater for the needs of rural women. For this reason, these policies prevent women whose livelihoods depend on the agricultural sector from exerting their full potential to use mobile phones as a saving tool. Informal methods of saving, such as Rotating Service and Credit Associations therefore continue to be used as a preferred method of saving amongst these rural Kenyan women.
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