M-birr Breakthrough in Dodicha Kebele by Gurmessa 09 Nov 2021

posted in: IFC Project - Ethiopia | 0

Case study on ‘M-BIRR’ breakthrough in Dodicha Kebele 

Mr. Ibrahim Abdi was one of my’ respondents for today. He is a member of the Dodicha Kebele Primary Cooperative. He has an additional job as the M-BIRR agent of the Kebele. When I came to his home, he was very busy transferring money via his mobile cell phone for neighboring farmers. After waiting for some minutes, I introduced myself and started a discussion. Then, I introduced myself and L-IFT planned activities. Afterward, I opened a floor for him. He warmly welcomed me and replied by telling me, “I am almost providing services which are very similar to the activities you planned.”  He added, “I am a Farmer and an M-BIRR Agent of the kebele too.” Then, I asked him about how M-Birr works and its purpose. Hereunder, I have summarised the response I obtained from MR. Ibrahim Abdi on M-BIRR utilization in the Kebele. 

  • The target beneficiaries of the ‘M-BIRR’ are safety net beneficiary farmers
  • This agent is a resident of Dodicha Kebele and a farmer too
  • He was trained on the utilization of the M-BIRR app by ‘WALQO’ (a Micro-finance institution)  
  • He serves about 30 farmers 
  • He gives services like safety net grant transfers by using his cell phone  
  • The M-BIRR app doesn’t need a smartphone and can work on ordinary mobile phones.

How the app works:

  • Each and every farmer was assigned a code for their name
  • Then, the amount of the grant that individual farmers should receive will be transferred to these agents from WALQO 
  • After the agent receives information on the amount of grant from WALQO, the agent directly informs the beneficiary farmers via his mobile 
  • After each and every beneficiary gets informed about the amount of the grant, he collects the money from WALQO and dispatches it to his customers. 

Benefits for the Agents

  • He collects 10 BIRR from each farmer upon delivering the services 
  • He has 30 customers and he makes a grant transfer every month for safety net beneficiary farmers.

Lessons learned 

  • The app/services can work by any mobile phone, it doesn’t require a smartphone, and it is very easy for farmers to manage 
  • A sort of mobile money is already in place in Dodicha Kebele 
  • Gathering more information from banks on the service can help L-IFT for future interventions.