Continuing our series of blog posts highlighting the great work of organisations using the Musoni System, we wanted to focus on Mama Bahati Foundation who have been using Musoni since July 2013, and were one of our first MFI partners. Mama Bahati Foundation (MBF), were founded in 2006 with the goal of reducing poverty and improving the livelihoods of rural women entrepreneurs. They are part of the Five Talents network, a fantastic UK charity that supports microfinance organisations around the world.
Operating out of Iringa, in central Tanzania, the majority of women served by MBF live in remote rural areas, with many located more than two hours from the nearest town. As a result of this, before adopting Musoni, field officers faced challenges managing the long distances and group meetings were spent processing transactions rather than on training and business issues. This cumulated in a major security incident in 2011 that galvanised MBF to make their operations more secure, streamlined and cost effective. To achieve this, MBF decided to switch to the Musoni System.
You can watch a video of the team explaining why they decided to use Musoni below:
Since switching to Musoni, in less than two years MBF have expanded by more than 100%, with portfolio quality improving at the same time. They have seen a significant reduction in cash handling, alongside the introduction of more efficient processes. Together this has allowed staff to concentrate on recruiting and helping clients rather than on administrative tasks, enabling the business to scale up its operations.
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MBF have also started taking advantage of Musoni’s integration with mobile money transfer services to enable clients to send and receive payments over their phones. Staff and clients are now more secure without having to carry cash. Equally, loan officers have been able to reduce travel times by using the Musoni app to access client and loan information directly in the field. As a result of this innovative use of technology, in February 2015 MBF won the Financial World Innovation Award in London.
Japhet Makau, MBF’s CEO, said “We have seen a lot of improvements since we started using the technology. One is the data quality has really improved. It has helped us be more efficient and more productive. The use of mobile money transfer has cut down the risk and operating expenses and helped MBF to be able to go far into rural areas, up to 100km from the office. The loan officers are very happy with the tablets. Initially they were worried that putting the information on the tablets at the same time as conducting the meeting would be too much work. But they have taken to it very positively. They are happy with it, the quality of the data is good and they are able to follow up on their portfolio at any given time, and see their portfolio quality or number of clients straight from the field, without having to come back to the office.” You can watch Japhet explaining some of the benefits of the Musoni System here.
In terms of next steps, MBF are now looking to build upon their success, with an ambitious target of reaching an additional 3,600 women over the next 12 months and migrating more rural groups to mobile money payments, so that Loan Officers can spend less time counting cash and more time on outreach, business skills training and mentoring.
Cameron Goldie-Scot, Musoni’s CEO, added “Our goal at Musoni Services is to support microfinance organisations in their efforts to reduce risk, lower costs and improve efficiency. It’s fantastic that through the use of the Musoni System, Mama Bahati Foundation have already seen tangible benefits for their business. By using the Musoni app on the tablets they have made life easier for their loan officers, while reducing the burden on the back office. Management benefit from the improved data quality and lower PAR. We look forward to working with them for many years to come.”