However, in order to achieve greater and more meaningful financial inclusion of women, we first need to better understand their preferences, behaviours and their social context. This is where quality gender-based data plays a key role in analysis and decision-making.
For example, in order to understand a new market, we must ask: have we invested the time and resources needed to meaningfully engage with both men and women? Have we considered the time needed to build trust in these communities (especially if they have had disappointing experiences with other organisations in the past)?
We may also need to travel further to reach women, and provide safe spaces for them to speak openly about their lives and the things they would like to change.
Good Return’s research work in the Solomon Islands navigated these
Women are just as likely to have access to a phone, have a bank account or try mobile money. However, they often feel excluded by financial service market efforts which feature only men, use English, and feature content and images that are not reflective of life in the Solomon Islands’ outer provinces, especially for women.
During many focus group discussions, women expressed concern at the skill needed to use a phone for mobile banking – but showed a strong willingness to learn if someone would show them. For mobile operators aiming to be market leaders, building women’s confidence and capacity through demonstration is key.
Women also expressed a strong preference for training programs to be delivered at a community level, where spouses and family members could attend sessions together to ensure key messages are not reframed or misinterpreted within the household. This feedback strengthened the case for new behaviours and social change to begin taking shape within the home.
These insights prove that women’s voices are a crucial factor in understanding the behavioural determinants of any community.
To read the original publication of this piece visit:
For resources and information on the Summit, visit: Asia Pacific Financial Inclusion Summit 2015]]>
The employees of Deloitte gave a broad range of recommendations from how to approach a younger audience, to how to liaise with Government and Corporate Partners. The attendees of the workshop came up with innovative and well-researched suggestions drawing on concepts as wide reaching as colour psychology in branding and gamification for the corporate sector. Based on the recommendations, one day you may find a Good Return University Ambassador or our CEO’s column in a financial publication!
The workshop was organised and facilitated by Good Return’s Ambassador Tharani Jegatheeswaran and her colleague Alain Gasquet. This workshop was one of 300 charitable volunteering events run by Deloitte.
Deloitte Australia’s CEO Cindy Hook: “As well as having a positive impact on the community, events like IMPACT Day are great connectors between our people and our teams. They offer us opportunities to interact with each other in different situations, while underscoring our belief in the value of diversity of experience and thought.”
This month we interviewed Salla Mankinen. Salla is living and working in Phnom Penh, Cambodia as Good Return’s app developer. Technology is one of the fastest growing sectors in Cambodia and Salla is on the ground immersed in a climate of rapid change, innovation and growth.
Good Return: What were you doing prior to leaving Australia to work with GR and what inspired you to go?
Salla Mankinen: I was a software developer. I have been working for different insurance companies and banks building software for big enterprise systems. When joining Good Return in Cambodia I wanted to help out people from poor backgrounds to build their lives as they don’t have the same life opportunities as we do in the west.
What is the tech culture like for young people in Cambodia?
It’s at its infancy compared to Australia, but a lot of people are getting excited and wanting to learn new things and catch up with the rest of the world. There are new IT conferences, hackathons, IT co-working spaces, popping up constantly. Young people are very tech and social media savvy in Cambodia, as anywhere in the world. Most of the people in the city have smart phones and especially Facebook is omnipresent. The mobile phone penetration is around 95% and most people have multiple SIM cards.
What is the most innovative thing you have seen in the hacker space you visit?
The guys (and girls) at the hacker space build all kinds of things; laser guns, rain water power electricity generators, drones, robots etc. A less techy but very important thing we built is the balcony composting bin that I have been eagerly using. Now I just have to decide what to do with 10kg of high quality compost. Cambodia is such a tropical country that the compost was ready for use in just a few months.
Tell us about an unusual custom or tradition you have encountered
I can think of something that I’m still struggling to understand, the practise of scraping sickness away with a metal coin. The method consists of taking a normal coin and scraping a person’s skin for a long time till just before it starts bleeding. It leaves bright red marks for a long time and looks very painful. Most Cambodians would rather go to the Pagoda to pray or visit the traditional healer or grandmother for some coining than see a doctor. Another interesting custom is the child birth, it is called “chloong tunlee” which translates to crossing the river, presumably describing the life changing event that the child birth is to a mother. After the birth the mother spends the night sleeping on a bed with fire burning under it, eats very spicy food and drinks strong alcohol. All this create as much sweat as possible to clean the body.
Tell us about the most interesting person you have met, what’s their story?
I would say the most interesting person would be my Khmer teacher, Sochiet. He always has very interesting stories to tell, starting from the horrors of the Khmer Rouge period that he lived through, ending by him walking 250km back to Phnom Penh over the period of many months. He then spent 5 years in the Soviet Union studying engineering but eventually ended up working with the NGOs in Phnom Penh as they provide better salaries than the private sector. He worked at UNTAC for the infamous 1993 election, the first democratic election in Cambodia after a few decades of war. After working for numerous NGOs for a few decades he started to teach Khmer to foreigners as he didn’t manage to find any more NGO jobs being much older than the other job candidates.
He is a great teacher, travels to student’s house punctually with his old style moto scooter and now teaches the whole Good Return team based in Phnom Penh. He probably knows more of his students’ lives than their mothers and the gossiping when practising Khmer gets retold to the next student and to the neighbors, as many of us students are connected as friends too.
We heard you have a fruit grading system! How and why do you grade fruit?
Well, most fruits are tasty but some fruits are definitely more tasty than others, and tropical Cambodia is the place to eat them. So we came up with the rating system where you give each fruit a score based on taste but also on how complex the eating process is, such as how much peeling is involved, tools required, how quick does the fruit spoil (so that it make is hard to carry it from the market). For example, a banana is both tasty and easy to eat, mango is super tasty but requires tools of preparation, longan involves lot of pealing and doesn’t have much meat etc. To justify eating a fruit the taste/complexity ratio needs to be high enough to make it worthwhile the effort. Before going to the market, just check the fruit graph to buy the right fruit and get the best bang for your buck!
What can you see from your bedroom window?
Construction work! It wakes me up every morning. I have experimented with several ear plugs and have come up with a way of maximizing the ambient noise with fans and air conditioning, so it’s not so bad at the moment. But definitely keeps you from staying up too later in the evening.
What you have learned from the culture that you’d like to apply to your own life?
Cambodians don’t seem to be fazed by the traffic. It might seem chaotic to a new comer but there actually is a system. It’s rare, especially in the daily commute times, to see people show signs of aggression, get upset or use high speeds. It all just flows softly but chaotically like a swarm of insects.
What is the headline in today’s newspaper?
To be honest, they are quite depressing most of the time. Today there are comments about immaturity of Cambodia’s democracy, shootings of forestry officers related to illegal logging and the usual death reports from traffic accidents. On a happier note, the Cambodian independence from the French was celebrated yesterday which added to the long list of public holidays in a year. Fireworks and colourful decorations were on display in Phnom Penh.
Read our interview with FSO in Indonesia, Bridget Martin.
And find out more about Salla’s visit to the Why Technology Should be a Girl Thing conference in Cambodia.
The amazing thing about Betty’s is that despite eating there for several months, it’s rare to have the same meal twice. And secondly, to eat there is remarkably cheap by Australian standards; our coupons are for the equivalent of $1.20 and this is sufficient to cover rice, a few vegetable dishes, tofu or tempeh and a tall glass of iced sweet tea. Fish, beef, pork, chicken and eggs are add-ons for around 50c-$1 more.
Betty is a well-loved figure with a quick smile and an agile mind as she tallies the cost of meals during the lunchtime rush. Although she became a member of CUKK 6 years ago, she managed to fund the business with her own savings, using her CUKK loan to buy a car. It can be hard to find an empty space to enjoy the Indonesian cuisine served at Betty’s Warung as she now feeds around 30 CUKK staff on average at lunch each day, regulars from other offices in the vicinity, and takeaways for passing clientele.
The Digital Disruptors awards highlight individuals and organisations at the forefront of digital disruption, showcasing the ability of the ICT sector to meet the challenges of the future. Good Return is proud to be recognised with this accolade and we thank our supporters for enabling our lending platform to help women across the Asia Pacific break the poverty cycle.]]>
Birthdays in the Philippines usually consist of copious amounts of food, especially sugar. Taking the lead from the many birthdays I have celebrated in the office, I prepared bihon – a traditional Filipino noodle dish. This is a dish eaten throughout the year but is always prepared for birthdays. Often we will receive bihon deliveries from staff who are celebrating their birthdays out in the towns but make a special trip to deliver this birthday food.
Bihon aside, birthday celebrations consisted of an afternoon tea with my co-workers and lots of well wishes. This year’s birthday was certainly something special that hopefully won’t raise the blood sugar levels too high after all the refined sugar consumed.
Eventually we found a driver who knew the location of Ensaid Panjang, a longhouse hidden down a twisty, rugged track an hour or so from Sintang.
At first sight, it was impressive and surprising in equal measure; a long wooden structure screened with bamboo, topped by a wooden shingle roof. And flanked by huge satellite dishes- seemingly one for each family member! Political posters representing each of the parties in the upcoming elections spoiled the authenticity of the structure, but climbing the steep wooden steps and entering the vast common area was like stepping into another world, untouched by modernity. Women sat weaving at looms scattered along the sheltered veranda, in surprisingly cool conditions despite the approach of monsoon season. Rattan floor mats were rolled up in the eaves and ‘coolie’ hats hung upon the doors to individual sleeping quarters, ready for the occupants to start work in the gardens.
Before long, a group of women crowded around to sell their craft work, beaded bracelets and necklaces in the traditional Dayak style and the cloth woven on the looms. Each cloth takes around two months to complete, depending on how many traditional dyes are used, and sells for around $50. We purchased a piece of cloth from a woman who grinned proudly as we passed over the money. We stepped outside to try and take photos to encompass the size of the longhouse, a difficult task. At either end of the building are the formal entrances, carved wooden steps flanked by wooden statues; at one end stood the women’s entrance and at the other end the men’s. Hanging above the doors are small baskets to ward off evil spirits. This longhouse is home to 28 families, more than 100 people, who continue to live in the traditional communal style; a much prettier precursor to modern apartment living.
The Deloitte Foundation focuses on philanthropic programs and a small number of strong alliances. It aims to build value in the community through a number of programs:
Building sustainable relationships with a small number of community organisations to build long lasting impact.
Providing funding and in-kind support during a humanitarian emergency.
Supporting Deloitte’s employees to contribute their time to the community.
Enables Deloitte’s people to donate to charity through regular payroll deductions.
“We believe we make a greater impact by concentrating our efforts. We want our people to engage with the community, ideally in a very hands-on way. There is a great sense of satisfaction in building relationships and giving back to the community.” – Dennis Goldner, Chairman, The Deloitte Foundation.
We are honoured to work with Deloitte and we thank the foundation and Deloitte employees for their ongoing support of our work.]]>
Before getting the brainstorming going we were fortunate enough to have a very special guest. Ramana James, Head of Group Shared Value at IAG, gave a presentation on shared value and how to create it. Ramana’s presentation not only helped the attendees gain a deeper understanding of how to create shared value but it also expanded on how much a business can benefit from shared value, improving social issues while making a profit.
During the workshop we heard great ideas that varied from skill trainings by phone to hybrid models of selling tools for farmers. Nicole Stanmore of Good Return said, “Accenture staff have given us a number of new ideas and initiatives on how Good Return could partner with corporate Australia to create a shared value relationship. Their ideas were all terrific and this is absolute testimony to the intelligence, professionalism and passion of Accenture people.”
The two finalists were Authentic Impact Tourism and Mobile Banking. Authentic Impact Tourism proposed a package that provides value to tourists while aligning with Good Return’s vision helping women in need. Tourists could participate in a live-in experience with borrowers while contributing to the community with skills development or assisting with day to day activities. Borrowers can highlight problems and skills gaps they face in an online profile, which allows the (volunteer) tourist to find where they would be most helpful.
The winning idea was: a partnership between a telecommunications service provider and Good Return that will disrupt the financial services industry in Indonesia by providing a mobile payments platform for micro-loans that Good Return clients receive.
We were inspired by the innovative ideas and possibilities regarding what the future holds for Good Return. We are glad this workshop was not only valuable for us but for the attendees. An Accenture volunteer said, “This workshop was a fantastic idea and I’d love to see more of them around and accessible to everyone.”]]>
1. Try not to be impulsive when faced with a challenge »
When you experience a setback or challenge and feel a surge of reactivity, allow yourself the time to reflect and make sure you are making the best choice. Kimberly Chang spoke of a deal she made with herself that she will always take time to reflect before making a choice.
2. Sometimes you have to make a quick decision »
Sometimes you have to make a quick decision without all the information at your disposal. Diana Ryall talked about developing the preparedness to make a decision and how trusting herself has made her a better decision maker. She said “You need to believe in yourself in a way that’s going to give other people confidence.”
3. Accept that your setbacks are finite »
Facilitator Amanda Webb spoke about the women Xplore for Success sees who are experiencing the turmoil of redundancy. Amanda suggests a reframe: this setback is not the end of your career, it’s just the beginning of Act 2. Professor Sonja Lyubomirsky’s research shows that we each have a happiness set-point and though our wellbeing fluctuates through life’s ups and downs, we return to this point and begin anew.
4. Rethink risk »
Diana Ryall encouraged you to think about how you calculate risk and ask yourself “what is the risk?” She tells us that just because you’ve made a decision, doesn’t mean that you can’t correct your course or “turn the boat around.”
5. Develop an internal locus of control »
A common trait of highly resilient people is the belief that they are in control of their own life, not subject to outside forces. This is referred to as an “internal locus of control.” Rather than resigning themselves to fate, luck or circumstance, resilient people feel that they are in control of their own destiny and react to adversity with action rather than despondency.
6. Don’t take setbacks personally »
Diana Ryall said that setbacks are not to be taken personally. “It’s really not personal a lot of the time, the things that happen to you, women are inclined to take personally and hang on to for a long time.” She said. “Women are much more inclined to churn over something forever and ever.” When dealing with criticism, detach yourself by asking “what part of this is useful?” Sometimes criticisms and failures are necessary facets of our progress, but sometimes haters just gonna hate.
7. You don’t have to put on a brave face »
Kimberly Chang said “Be authentic in your own way of dealing with the situation in the first instance. Give yourself the time to go through whatever it is: the pain, the sadness the anxiety, the stress. Don’t feel like you need to put on a brave face, you can go through the process.” There is a Japanese art called Kintsugi, the repair of broken pottery with powdered gold. The object is made more beautiful and more resilient through breakage and repair. To this end, Kimberly says “Don’t let people make you feel like resilience means pretending you’re okay.” Remember that “breakage” is a crucial part of the process.
8. Perfection is unattainable »
Perfection is the remit of cleaning product commercials and has no place in our imperfect lives. Diana Ryall says “Perfection is unattainable… there are times to give perfection a miss and just realise that the time-frame is more important than perfectionism.” She says “We need to get over this idea that you’ve got to have every “I” dotted and every “T” crossed. Amanda Webb also said one of the key takeaway messages was to watch your perfectionism.
Read more on our Inspiring Resilience event here]]>