On March 30, 2014 BRAC officially launched the BRAC innovation fund for mobile money at the Frugal Innovation Forum: Scaling Digitally in Savar, Bangladesh. BRAC is experimenting with transitioning from cash and exploring new development strategies enabled by mobile money with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Asif Saleh, BRAC Senior Director of Strategy, Communication and Capacity shared his thoughts, “Often NGOs lack the space to take risk and innovate. Therefore adoption of new technology can take a long time. Mobile money is an exciting new tool for financial inclusion and service delivery across many sectors, and we’re really thrilled that the Gates Foundation has given BRAC support for experimentation in this initiative. We’re seeing a lot of great ideas and look forward to beginning implementation later this year.”BRAC, the world’s largest NGO, impacts more than 120 million people in Bangladesh and works in eleven other countries. It is widely considered one of the most innovative and effective NGOs in the world, most notably for achieving success at scale.
BRAC’s Social Innovation Lab hosted an open challenge, whereby anyone could submit an idea related to how mobile money can improve the lives of the poor. Selected projects will be implemented by BRAC in Bangladesh over the course of the next year. At the Frugal Innovation Forum, over a hundred participants representing thirteen countries spent two days sharing their experiences with mobile money and data, and learning about the latest innovations emerging from the global South.
Sir Fazle Abed, BRAC founder and chairperson, BRAC’s senior director Asif Saleh and Liz Kellison, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Deputy Director of Strategy, Planning and Management officially launched the fund. On the launching Sir abed said, "At my last meeting with Bill Gates, he expressed his concern about how to help poor people to save safely. That's why he supported us getting mobile money off the ground. Now I am very interested in getting new ideas through this fund and I look forward to a lot of thinking behind new ways to help the poor."
For more information about the innovation fund for mobile money, please see this link.