Into Africa (and India)

Passport ImageMy passport is on it’s way to San Francisco to get an Indian Visa attached to it.  I hate letting my passport travel alone – I worry for it’s safety.  I’m crossing my fingers that it arrives home safely soon and then we can travel together!  Travel planning is in the works – I will be meeting with MFIs (micro finance institutions) that use the Mifos in Bangalore, India and Nairobi, Kenya to better understand what they need from the Mifos software.

In India it is common for MFIs to lend to groups (or individuals within groups).  Because people often don’t have a lot of assets, the group is used as collateral – the group can encourage each other to repay debts or help out when someone can’t make a payment.  Lending to a group is less risky than lending to an individual.  But people need more features than just group loans – they need individual loans, microcredit, and savings plans.  We want to see how well the Mifos software is meeting these needs.

In Kenya, mobile banking has taken off in recent years and also we want to see how the MFIs are using mobile devices in the field and what mobile functionality they would like to have.  Looking forward to meeting a whole different set of users with very different needs from the high-tech enterprise IT admins I am usually designing for.

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