Cash Transfers through Mobile Phones: An Innovative Emergency Response in Kenya
Kenya was the first country in the world to use mobile phones for cash transfers; through a service called M‐PESA, developed by Safaricom Limited. Concern Worldwide has pioneered the use of M‐PESA for emergency cash transfers in Kenya.
This paper highlights Concern’s experience, which shows that despite initial software and logistical challenges, mobile phone technology offers a unique and empowering approach to efficiently deliver assistance to the most vulnerable people living in insecure and remote rural areas. Experience also shows that cash transfers are a better option than food distributions in areas where adequate supplies of food are locally available. In addition, the partnership between Concern and Safaricom demonstrates that the private sector has significant and unique abilities to enhance the effectiveness of emergency response, and more importantly they can do so while maintaining their core business principles. The case study also demonstrates how technology can empower poor, marginalised and vulnerable people.