One of the poorest countries in the world, nearly half of the population in Sierra Leone is food insecure even with around 70% of the population involved in some form of Agricultural activity. Furthermore, with 84% excluded from the financial safety net, there is an urgent need for providing financial services that can improve the lives of this fragile group.
What We Do
MiKashboks is a goal-oriented soft commitment savings platform aiming to enhance financial and food security for small-holder farmers in Sierra Leone, a marginalized group. It enables farmers to save via mobile money during harvests & market seasons to purchase crop inputs through e-vouchers at the next growing season, voluntarily binding and nudging them to reach particular predefined goals of inputs required at the next growing season.
MiKashboks aims to alleviate the challenges stemming from the inherent characteristics of “Present-Bias” that fragile groups like smallholder farmers exhibit. A characteristic whose consequences are exaggerated given the long periods of relatively little income between the market season and growing season that further forces the farmer to prioritize today’s desires and needs over tomorrow’s and as a result systematically failing to makes choices that will benefit them in future.
Enhance financial security for farmers in Sierra Leone
Mobile money savings for fragile groups
Improve financial inclusion for the unbanked in Sierra Leone
How We Operate
The farmer is guided through the registration process by a MiKashBox agent if not registered to the service, after which they specify crop inputs they want to be delivered at growing season.
Installment payment amounts and schedule is calculated from the total cost of the input and the market-life of the farmer’s current crops.
Farmers are regularly nudged about upcoming deposits, both via SMS alerts and in-person visits from Mikashboks agents and make regular installment payments to their savings account via mobile money. Given how unpredictable revenue can be for this fragile group, neither deposit amount or a deadline for deposits are enforced.
We use innovative nudging and gamification strategy to encourage and incentivize farmers to conform to their deposit schedule but do not penalize or enforce actual compliance.
At maturity, usually just before the start of the next growing season, the platform automatically sends a voucher to the farmer equal in value to the total amount in the farmer’s mikashboks account. The farmer uses that voucher to retrieve inputs from the input seller.
STRATEGY & DATA ANALYSIS
RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT
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