In 2014, The Grameen Foundation and Airtel, one of the leading mobile providers in Uganda, have developed the group savings account Airtel Weza. It is an account that requires three different PINs to be entered by different group members before a withdrawal can be made. So as to be sure that some individual members cannot conspire against the others, an SMS notification is sent to all of the members when a withdrawal is made.
A similar system was already available offline – but instead of a physical safe-deposit box, the account is now digital. And the three PINs replace the three locks which had previously secured the safe-deposit box.
At this point, the service is only available in Kamuli, but expansion to other provinces in Uganda is planned.
Airtel Weza is targeted primarily at women who belong to a savings group, and who simply want to securely store their money. In addition, it also stimulates the local economy – in one study, over 40 per cent of the women questioned reported that through having a mobile phone, they had gained access to a range of income-generating opportunities which had previously been out of their reach.