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Migration Lab Program - A Finance Platform for Refugees and Migrant Re-Builders

Bridging the financial divide to refugees & IDPs in Africa via diaspora in UK/Sweden/EU with microfinance, marketplaces & digital payments.

Photo of Chau Tang Duncan
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What problem does the idea help to solve and how does your solution work? (2,000 characters maximum)

My own journey as a refugee from Vietnam to Australia, having few options to sustainably transition from first settlement to livelihood, due to lack of access to finance. I started Goodbanc to widen financial access & inclusion for all, and my personal story & commitment is to provide refugees & IDPs access to payments & ethical finance, helping communities rebuild their lives. Migration Lab engages with diaspora initially in UK/Sweden because through them, we can connect directly to their families & other refugees & IDPs in Africa, with digital payments & microfinance. We address the structural limits of current financial systems & money transfers, to provide secure digital payment & savings services to entrepreneurs in refugee camps & IDPs in Africa through their families & diaspora in UK/Sweden. The people impacted: recently arrived refugees to Sweden/UK, refugees in camps in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and IDPs in other African countries, & communities on the move globally. The problem: no financial institutions will give finance to recently arrived refugees, refugees in camps in Kenya, Uganda & internally displaced persons in Africa & around the world. Access to finance for them is limited to shadow lenders/loan sharks etc, people who already have little by way of possessions will pawn what they have to raise funds, placing them more at risk. Some of the root cause: lack of formal identification, stable jobs, fixed housing or security for the loans, & are not taken seriously as entrepreneurs. The challenge is financial inclusion & access to sustainable finance. We are working directly with individuals, partners and communities, to co-create and co-implement, access to a platform for finance that is supported by microfinance self help groups using digital payments technology. Goodbanc provides secure digital payments, provide high quality savings account ~up to 7% yield pa, fully carbon positive account, to empower refugees to step forward with confidence.

Geography of focus (500 characters)

We are working with communities in UK/Sweden & EU, where diaspora can directly help refugees & IDPs in Africa through finance/microfinance. Direct digital remittances & microfinance to families in camps, refugees & other IDPs can support entrepreneur activities & self sufficiency. In camps like Dadaab, which hosts 211,365 registered refugees and asylum seekers, who are already registered to receive remittances & have in place a structure to implement finance to support social entrepreneurship.

Building Bridges: What bridge does your idea build between people on the move and neighbors towards a shared future of stability and promise? (500 characters)

For people on move & their neighbours, beyond providing basic needs & healing traumas, meaningful work in most cases can be therapeutic. Migration Lab creates conditions for developing self confidence, creating autonomy, & facilitate social entrepreneurship. We build shared stability through finance for entrepreneurs, between the host & refugees in Järva, Sweden for example; where 140+ countries coexist, the largest demographic from Eastern Africa, Kenya, Uganda, Somalia, Sudan, Chad, Ethiopia

What human need is your idea solving for? (1,000 characters)

The human need to create a life of meaning, filled with hope and dignity. Financial inclusion and sustainable access to finance will help communities, go beyond basic needs, to developing their full potential & to invigorate their communities. We are working directly with individuals, partners and communities, to co-create and co-implement, access to a platform for finance, provided for the people where they are, refugee families & IDPs in Sweden & UK, EU, and countries Africa. The Migration Lab will be a one stop shop for the human journey from being a migrant to being a social entrepreneur. Refugees as bridgebuilders for their communities in host countries & countries of origin. The Migration Lab will provide diaspora, refugees, and self-help microfinance groups, a finance platform & digital payments solution, to support social entrepreneurship, activities that heal people & restore land, fighting climate change while creating sustainable livelihoods for their communities.

What will be different within the community of focus as a result of implementing your idea? (1,000 characters)

In UK & Sweden, we are working directly with the communities with direct links to refugees in Africa. We are building the bridge between these communities to give them financial access to support for social entrepreneurship activities. The Lab will mobilise access to finance for self help microfinance groups to social entrepreneurs, bridging the gap from learning to implementation. Help refugees be bridgebuilders for their communities. For example, training for communities from the Horn of Africa on conflict resolution, peacemaking, and reconciliation. Sweden - working to build trust between ethnic minorities, generations, the state, and citizens over the last 5 years. Diaspora and refugees struggle to get meaningful work in their waiting time & with lack of legal status. In refugee camps, where people are already registered to receive remittances, we can implement social entrepreneurship finance quickly. In other areas, we work with local self help microfinance groups.

What is the inspiration behind your idea? (1,000 characters)

We believe that developing human capital is the key to the creation of social, ecological and financial capital. We have been working directly with individuals, partners and communities on creating dialogue and change within, on ethical leadership, sustainable living, trust building, environmental & land security, and social entrepreneurship. Sustainable access to financial support for these activities are constrained by existing structures, and the lack of connection for the entire human experience and interdependence of global scale. Our experiences in working with diaspora & refugees highlighted the strength of the human spirit and a call for action to support them for their full human journey. If we are able to support 100 social entrepreneurs where they are, who in their turn support another 100, then we could create 10,000 social entrepreneurs who could create meaningful jobs, restore land through sustainable agriculture activities & reduce the risk of further migration.

Describe the dynamics of the community in which the idea is to be implemented. (1,000 characters)

In UK & Sweden, a number of suburban zones experience high instances of drugs and criminality, high unemployment and tension. In Järva, Sweden for example, people come from 140 countries, the largest group from Eastern Africa, socially, emotionally & culturally diverse. Rising tension and scarcity of social and economic opportunity amongst the host and immigrant community, place the second generation diaspora and the newly arrived asylum seekers at risk. In Eastern Africa, the Horn of Africa, families & communities are in refugee camps or still in areas of conflict. There is little opportunity for hope or access to finance that will support entrepreneur activities (and give meaning and dignity) to create a stable future. Self help groups are will established as a way to secure & stabilise livelihoods. Migration Lab Programs translates self help groups onto a digital payments program that is global, to address the lack of financial services for these communities.

How does your idea leverage and empower community strengths and assets to help create an environment for success? (1,000 characters)

Our partners are working directly with diaspora & refugees in host countries (UK & Sweden) originating from and within Africa. We have shared experiences in training, community development, inspiring, equipping & connecting people to play their part in building a better society. Social entrepreneurs, diaspora & refugees have limited access to finance, and self help microfinance groups are well established as a way to secure & stabilise livelihoods. Migration Lab Programs act as bridge builder and finance fund to rebuild sustainable livelihood. It translates self help groups onto a digital payments program that is global, to address the lack of financial services for these communities. Finance for agricultural entrepreneurs in conflict areas - farming activity can contribute to household income (loans to buy/lease land, plant food crops) and create meaningful jobs in sustainable production (plant fibre for biodegradable plate/cutlery, resin trees for perfume industry).

What other partners or stakeholders will work alongside you in implementing the idea, if any? (1,000 characters)

The project is led by Goodbanc with support from organisations in UK & Sweden, Mondo, KYF, RFC, My Name is Human, ILLP, & self help microfinance groups. Goodbanc is the finance fund and technology platform provider where microfinance self help groups, using digital payments technology, access to support entrepreneur finance applications & payments. The design approach & methodology for the platform will have input from all stakeholders, to ensure decisioning & automation is fit for purpose. The voice of the represented communities will be engaged as part of ideation, process and project through partners like IofC, a world-wide movement of people of diverse cultures and backgrounds, who are committed to the transformation of society through changes in human motives and behaviour, starting with their own. The network of individuals, groups & organisations have direct access to the diaspora & refugee communities we serve. We will use existing case studies to support the project.

What part of the displacement journey is your solution addressing

  • Arriving and settling at a destination community

Tell us how you'd describe the type of innovation you are proposing

  • Technology-enabled: Existing approach is more effective or scalable with the addition of technology

Idea Proposal Stage

  • Pilot: We have started to implement the idea as a whole with a first set of real users. The feasibility of an innovation is tested in a small-scale and real world application (i.e. 3-15% of the target population)

Group or Organization Name

Goodbanc (Goodwallet Ltd) as project lead, provides the technology & finance fund solution. IofC Sweden, Mondo, Kenya Youth Foundation, Refugee Friends Care & My Name is Human are project partners.

Tell us more about your group or organization [or lived experience as a displaced person?] (1000 characters)

Goodbanc is the first financial platform servicing the needs of global ESG investors with green bonds, equity and investment contracts of any size. We will be the technology platform provider and the finance fund, using digital payments technology to implement loans with self help microfinance groups. Digital payments technology can be established quickly in refugee camps where refugees are already registered to receive remittances, through digital identities. We have interviewed diaspora & refugees in UK & Sweden, and through them the bridge will be made to those in Africa. IofC has a long history of building & repairing bridges between people, issues, and beliefs that promote meaningful engagement and greater social cohesion to address land & security challenges. We have been engaging with civil society, government and private sector in restoring landscapes, to create meaningful jobs, restore land and reduce the risk of further migration.

Website URL:

www.goodbanc.io/ www.se.iofc.org/ https://mondo.org.ee/en/ www.refugee-friends-care.org/ www.mynameishumanproject.org/ www.orgs.tigweb.org/kenya-youth-foundation

Type of submitter

  • We are a For-Profit Startup or Startup Social Enterprise

Organization Headquarters: Country

United Kingdom

Organization Headquarters: City / State

London

In preparation for expert feedback: What are three unanswered questions or challenges that you could use support on in these categories? These questions will be answered directly by experts matched specifically to your idea. (600 characters)

1) Any regulatory, legal or other specific challenges with deploying a non-bank service, digital borderless peer to peer platform for savings, micro-finance and payments initially in Kenya, Uganda. Other market in Africa we should consider? 2) Assessing, monitoring & evaluation best practice of self help / micro finance groups as delivery partners & capacity builders for the end users. 3) What metrics do micro-finance funds with unallocated capital waiting to be deployed report on, and opportunity to partner. So they can earn interest 7-10% pa and report environmental impact (carbon sequested)

Did you use the resources offered during the Improve Phase (mentorship, expert feedback, community research)? (2000 characters)

Following the 1-1 mentor call, expert & community feedback – we reviewed the Human Centered Design (image) and undertook interviews with customers (a) end user - refugee, IDP, Diaspora (b) agents - microfinance provider, transfer agents, donor/funding agencies, self-organising group program leaders and (c) our technology team & developers, and (d) our organisational team & partner/networks. By mapping this out simply (see image), two primary categories emerged (A) Customers (B) Service partners - for delivery of the idea.

We need to better communicate a simple message of our end goal - to deliver the services Goodbanc platform can facilitate (savings, P2P finance, payments) to the end user (refugee, IDP, Diaspora), which is done through community agents (existing MFI, self help groups, co-operatives) who manage issuance, repayments, and provide financial & skills training, social & entrepreneur support etc. We need to incorporate:

Mentor
1. Simply describe the user journey. Ie) how easy it is for the user to access cash & finance, to make payments, to make transfers to family & other people’s account.
2. Explain how we address Shariah compliance for large Muslim community
3. Explain our due diligence process integrates social and environmental factors

User
1. Work with reputable groups already managing micro-finance, with traction
2. Market locally to the end-user community to get wider acceptance
3. Differentiate from what is currently on offer, transfers mPesa, Paypal etc
Expert
1. Explain what our current request for funding is for
2. What already existed, and what was being proposed
3. Explain how non-financial objectives would result from our financial inclusion technology

In what ways would potential BridgeBuilder funds allow you to pursue your idea that other funding opportunities have not? (1000 characters)

IDEO allows us to connect to other ideas with aligned vision, leveraging ideas/resources to deliver greater outcomes. Bridgebuilder is not just about grant funds to help financially implement the idea, but also the social glue and networks that can help challenge, refine and support actionable outcomes.

To deliver proven technology & digital services in a new setting, the grant will help fund a working prototype of an integrated digital solution that is tailored for Refugee, IDPs & Diaspora customers and the community agents that serve them, and a sustainable operating model to scale.  Funds received will proportionally go towards: Seed $100k investment pool that will support micro-finance lending activities, Technology $50k customisation & APP, customer experience & testing $50k ($10k x4 UK, Sweden, Kenya, uganda plus $10k consolidate/aggregate), $35k operations, $15k documentation/marketing/story telling.

What aspects or proportion of the overall idea would potential BridgeBuilder funds primarily support? (1000 characters)

Bridgebuilder funds will provide seed capital, initially into the investment pool that will support micro-finance lending activities. Goodbanc platform already earn 7-10% pa interest on deposits, and the ability to deploy peer to peer lending & secure digital payments.  As customers use the savings or finance accounts, the platform pools the resources to expand capital available to lend out and pay interest on customer deposits. The financial service does not erode the grant invested, as it is an investment generating returns. Funds will also establish & operationalise the service, by tailoring & implementing the technology, in field delivery & support, and research & data collection for good governance & reporting. After 12 months of good financial performance, social & environmental assessment and reporting, we will then be able to attract private capital to fund investment growth to enable us to scale the offer to more customers/agents.

What are the key steps or activities for your idea for implementation in the next 1-3 years? (1000 characters)

Year 1: Deliver working prototype designed for refugees, IDPs & Diaspora customers and community agent partners. Complete customer engagement & recruitment, needs analysis, field interviews & workshops, APP Design & prototype, face to face support/training. Review first time use experience & report incorporating data collected both qualitative and quantitative. Expand services to other customer groups, expand local promotion & marketing, & leverage external partners that are strategically aligned to fund 2-3 year.

 Year 2 & 3: attract Private Capital investment into a Fund/s to support growth to other countries in Africa, scale existing Agent arrangements, partner with Telecom & local banks to broaden access to products & services.  Attract Private Capital investment to support growth in other geographies, ie Middle East, Europe, Latin America, Asia & establish new partner networks.

What will community-level impact look like over the timeframe of your idea? How will you determine whether or not you have achieved that impact? And what outstanding questions do you still have? (1000 characters)

IMPACT: By 2021, we aim to have established community agent relationships in Sweden/UK, Uganda/Kenya, and new relationships in EU/Latin America/Asia, with matched funding pool (increase by 3x) through re-investment and new private capital investments.

MEASUREMENT: We will measure financial performance, the number of customers & number of agent relationships onboarded, and also the social & environmental impact that our platform has in providing access to financial services. ie) net positive impact on the lives of the people affected.

QUESTION: Effective working models with community agents to ensure whole of lifecycle support is provided to the end customer, adapting to cultural & financial needs, education & skills, aspirations, and structural constraints (ie ID access to SIM card for mobile services)

Describe the individual or team that will implement this idea (if a partnership, please explain breakdown of roles and responsibilities for each entity). (1000 characters)

Goodbanc (Gb) will be the technology & platform provider. Existing product & technology teams will provide support to develop the tailored solution to meet the needs of the end-users.

  • Gb UK project leader will to work with Diaspora & social entrepreneurs in London, to support microfinance activities for families/communities in refugee camps in Africa & other IDPs.
  • Gb Sweden & IofC Sweden (Rishabh) will work with refugees in Sweden, to support microfinance activities in Sweden & support finance for their families/communities in refugee camps in Africa & other IDPs.
  • Gb project leaders in Kenya (Edwyn) & Uganda (Joel) for example will work with in country community actor partners (Mondo, KYF, RFC, ILLP, MBB) to establish projects

 GB (other) - documenting film/story telling partner (Alan), administration (Maarja), data analytics/reporting (tbc)

Lastly, how did you apply new learnings to your idea? (1000 characters)

I gathered further feedback from stakeholders, funds of microfinancers, UNHCR, and bridgebuilder communities, finding that (a) current technology for ID used in camps (iris scan identification for cash assistance, food programs, cash card to pay for items), (b) mobile lending through telecommunications providers is common, however refugees lack of acceptable ID to get a SIM for mobile account, to access money transfer services (c) high desirability for beyond single services such as remittances, to full services (to borrow, to save & earn interest, remit money, generate invoice & receive payment for goods sold etc) one simple sign-up for all the services. Pivot to establish partnerships with those supporting microfinance activities directly, co-operatives, trusted lending circles, or micro-finance providers without their own APP, and incorporated lived experiences of other bridgebuilder communities (Mondo, Mercy beyond borders, Refushee) into how we will action the idea.

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Team (11)

Chau's profile
Alan's profile
Alan Channer

Role added on team:

"Environment, Peacebuilding and Comunications Specialist. Nairobi / Kenya / Africa"

Tom's profile
Tom Duncan

Role added on team:

"Goodbanc /Goodwallet Ltd technology platform & fund manager provider"

Rishab's profile
Rishab Khanna

Role added on team:

"Business programmes, community development. Sweden / India"

Maarja's profile
Maarja Tamm

Role added on team:

"Community, Leadership & Youth Engagement"

Edwyn's profile
Bayubasire's profile
Gemita's profile
Maari's profile
Abrahim's profile
Sister Marilyn's profile

93 comments

Join the conversation:

Comment
Spam
Photo of Isaac Jumba
Team

Hello Chau Tang Duncan 
Could you share with us a working email address or a Whatsapp number we could reach you on?
Best, Isaac

Spam
Photo of Chau Tang Duncan
Team

Hi @Isaac Jumba, I'll travelling in Australia at present, you can contact me via chau@goodbanc.io as registered via ideo, we can then work out a good time-zone to mutually speak. Regards, Chau

Spam
Photo of Maari Ross
Team

NGO Mondo would be interested to cooperate with this project and contribute with our experience of working with communities in the Horn of Africa and developing social entrepreneurship skills there.

Spam
Photo of Chau Tang Duncan
Team

Hi Maari Ross welcome to our team and we look forward to working in partnership with your team at NGO Mondo given your long track record of working with communities in the Horn of Africa and training the target IDPs and refugees to develop their own social entrepreneurship skills there. We are working directly with individuals, partners and communities, to co-create and co-implement, access to a platform for finance that is supported by microfinance self help groups using digital payments technology. Finance is provided for the people where they are, refugee families & IDPs in Sweden & UK, and countries in Africa etc. Self help groups are well established as a way to secure & stabilise livelihoods. Migration Lab Programs translates self help groups onto a digital payments program that is global, to address the lack of financial services for recently arrived refugees & their families, still in camps and their original homes (which are in conflict zones). For example the IFC describes the Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya as a $56 million market. The Goodbanc platform can provide finance these social entrepreneurs living in the refugee camps in Kenya with our trust circle using secure digital payments. We can provide high quality savings account with up to 7% yield per annum, fully Carbon positive account to really empower refugees to take the next step on their lives with confidence.

Spam
Photo of Chau Tang Duncan
Team

Hi Maari, congratulations on the work you are doing at Mondo. It's truely is inspiring to see the depth of the programs and countries you cover.  In the process of refining the idea to fit the challenge's evaluation criterias, can you clarify if your are currently offering programs for microfinance or work with a microfinance provider on the ground in Kenya, Uganda or Estonia, with linkages to refugees/IDP. Or if your capacity building programs can take on the role and use our platform to deliver & support the services. We are looking to establish partnerships with delivery partners, who currently support microfinance activities directly, such as co-operatives looking to expand support of their member base, or trusted lending circles already using the group lending methodology, or micro-finance providers who don’t have their own APP

Spam
Photo of Maari Ross
Team

Hi Chau! I checked with our different teams, but unfortunately we do not offer microfinancing programs at the moment. We are working with several cooperatives. When using the platform to deliver and support the services, do you mean financial services?

Spam
Photo of Chau Tang Duncan
Team

Maari Ross the platform offers access to a digital savings account to earn interest, and a peer-to-peer finance platform to help deliver finance (pooled money, matching people would want to lend out money and people who need to borrow money against deposits), and payments (ie Seller create invoice for goods, buyer scan QR on the APP, and money is transferred to conclude purchase/payment). In regards to the idea for bridgebuilder, we need to adjust the model slightly to allow for refugee/IDP specific challenges (ID verified via the social network, thus need to work with existing co-operatives, social lending circles). We are not a micro-finance lender. We can support community agents to deliver microfinance (via a pooled fund), offer savings platform and payment platform (all in one) for entrepreneurs. The co-operative/your program managers will undertake their normal activities. The platform offers an additional digital source of funding/and digital services (savings, loans, payments). so the potential is to partner with you & the co-operatives to give them access to savings/lending/payments using our platform.

Spam
Photo of Sister Marilyn LACEY, rsm
Team

Hello, Chau Tang,
Congrats on building your e-banking connections in UK and Sweden for settled refugees. And thanks for inquiring about the circles of women that Mercy Beyond Borders (MBB) is working with in the refugee camps of northern Uganda (along the S.Sudan border). As you know, there are over 1.2million refugees along that border, the vast majority from S.Sudan but many also from Congo (DRC). MBB now has women's groups in 5 of the 20+ camps. First the women form a grp of 15; then they save weekly as a grp for several months to prove stability and motivation; then they participate in a 3-day training by MBB and elect their leaders; then they receive loans, launch their businesses, and meet weekly to "bank" their profits into one shared account via mPesa. After 10 months they repay and become eligible for a smaller 6-mo loan to expand their businesses. Over 2 yrs, this has been working well, with the exception of one camp where there was fraud by the elected Treasurer. We have a designated Field Worker and an Interpreter working regularly with these loan groups. We would certainly be interested in learning more from you about a potential collaboration. As an aside, we are also operating a small project which we call "Women Connecting" whereby MBB supplies an internet-enabled video/audio call for refugee women in these camps who have a relative overseas whom they've not been able to contact. These phone "reunions" have been heart-warming, for sure, but also in some cases financially helpful when the call results in the overseas relative being able to send remittances to the refugee relatives in the camps.
Our work is small in numbers but could be expanded if more resources were available.

Spam
Photo of Chau Tang Duncan
Team

Thankyou Sister Marilyn LACEY, rsm this is very helpful. Can you expand on a few clarifying questions (a) what is the average loan taken out by the group in the first instance, and then (b) what is the amount taken out after 10 months (for the 6-month loan to expand their business). (c) 5 groups of 15 over 2 years with only 1 default due to fraud - was the debt written off? (d) what support is then given to the women in the group, to continue with their business, rebuilding trust? (e) What are the typical business being funded?
In terms of the loans: (f) once they save weekly for a few months, what is the use of the funds? is it added to the loan borrowed as capital available for their business or is it kept as savings for other purposes. (g) how was the repayment structured (ie) if $100 loan each x 15 in group = total loans $1,500 given out? So they bank how much each month (representing the total amount to be repaid at the end of 10 months in the form of 'profit'? Is it structured this way for Shariah compliance ie no interest, but it is an installment totalling at the end ie $1,600?

Spam
Photo of Sister Marilyn LACEY, rsm
Team

(a) what is the average loan taken out by the group in the first instance? $200pp
b) what is the am't taken out after 10 mos ? It was another $200, but we are changing it to $50 in 2020. 1st loan:15% interest; 2nd loan: 1.5% .
(c) 5 groups of 15 over 2 years with only 1 default due to fraud - was the debt written off? Actually it has been 11 groups to date; we have more than 1 grp in several camps. Re the default case, the group Treas collected & allegedly stole all $3,000 + interest) of all 15 members (claiming theft). Police did nothing. We have since changed our repayment process to be monthly via mPesa into a central MBB fund.

(d) what support is then given to the women in the group, to continue with their business, rebuilding trust? That group which defaulted maintained their businesses but dissolved as a group.

In general MBB devotes a lot of time and attention to group bonding.
1st, we bring women who excelled in the earlier grps to the trainings of new grps, where they share their experiences and the secrets of their success. This motivates the new members being trained assures them that it is not simply MBB imparting skills to these women but fellow refugee women – their peers –now successful business owners and even empowered to be trainers themselves.
2nd, continued field visits by MBB Micro-Enterprise staff, to check on how the women are performing with their personal businesses and advising on potential market changes keeps these women motivated and trusting us. This is not the case for other nonprofits who deal only with the groups’ leaders who may not be trustworthy in the end. Staff interaction with all members is critical to euccess.
3rd, MBB’s approach to survey, select and train these women is now seen as exemplary in the field b’se we approach the elected refugee camp leaders first to explain our work. Such leaders have power to organize settlement women from different camp sectors and ethnic groups to attend our first meetings and become informed openly about our work. From the selection process to the training and disbursement of funds, everything is done transparently with government and settlement officials in attendance to advise and witness all.
4th, MBB’s Women Connecting program, which started initially to reconnect lost relatives within and outside refugee camps, has partly become a means of marketing some women’s projects to relatives and friends overseas.
These are things that have caused our stakeholders to appreciate and build trust in MBB.

(e) What are the typical business being funded? Most started very simple individual things: baking mandazi, importing cloth/sodas/sandals/salt or other staples to sell in small amount. Some have been very creative: a grp of 3 put their loans together and started a (liquid and solid) soap-making business; another grp started a small restaurant; another grp of 5 pools their money to buy a cow each month, slaughtering it into very small pieces to sell (to augment diet); 5 women have become money-lenders and this brings high profits since they charge 15% (with the family’s refugee camp food ratio cards taken as collateral among themselves). Another sub-group of 5 women buy bedsheet materials, embroidering them with S.Sudanese designs and then selling to friends and relatives in Sudan, Australia and USA at favorable prices.

(f) once they save weekly for a few months, what is the use of the funds? is it added to the loan borrowed as capital available for their business or is it kept as savings for other purposes.
Members repay on monthly basis into MBB MobileMoney (mPesa) account. Interest is the basic amount repaid only and the principal loan is repaid on the last day. This allows clients to have enough stock to supply for the market. Once the full amount of principal + interest is paid back to MBB, the principal is used to fund new groups and the interest helps to support MBB’s staffing costs.

(g) how was the repayment structured (ie) if $100 loan each x 15 in group = total loans $1,500 given out? So they bank how much each month (representing the total amount to be repaid at the end of 10 months in the form of 'profit'? Is it structured this way for Shariah compliance ie no interest, but it is an installment totalling at the end ie $1,600?
Each group receives $200x15 = $3,000 as principal loan per grp at 15% interest. The first cycle runs for 10 months, meaning they repay $45.00 at the end of each month in interest as a group. The principal is held by the group to operate their businesses and is repaid on the final day of repayment. Weekly meetings (chaired by grp leaders and attended by MBB staff) bolster accountability, help solve challenges, and reduce the chance of default(s), If any individual member runs away, becomes ill, or fails in her business, the whole grp devises the means to cover the loss.

Spam
Photo of Chau Tang Duncan
Team

Thankyou Sister Marilyn LACEY, rsm this really adds context and will help us understand how our technology & platform can help you to scale your activities, providing greater financial access & support to more women entrepreneurs. We would love to work with you to help bring both our ideas to life if we get funded.

Spam
Photo of Chau Tang Duncan
Team

Sister Marilyn LACEY, rsm 
One more question, In terms of MPESA - access is quite tricky for refugees in Kenya due to their refugee certificate card certificate not being recognized by the Central Bank of Kenya as a valid document for financial transactions, which includes MPESA transactions and bank accounts. What has been your experience with refugees in Uganda in regards to accessing Mpesa or other mobile banking services. The reason being, although savings, transfers, payments can happen through the digital wallet, at some point they need to take cash out or have a way to deposit cash into the digital account. In some African countries, it's possible via Mpesa/Telecom relationships, where they go to a Mpsea agent store/booth and take money out/deposit into Mpesa account that way. The digital wallet savings account or loan account is linked to Mpesa. So they can earn interest on savings whilst making payments for the loan interest (all on one system). Mpesa is then used to get cash in & out.

Spam
Photo of Sister Marilyn LACEY, rsm
Team

It's my understanding that MBB deposits the repayments directly into the MBB micro-ent account each month .

Spam
Photo of HOPE South Sudan
Team

Am glad to read about your hard work. My name is Slash Moses program Director for HOPE-South Sudan a National organization that is working in Supporting IDP and South Sudan Returnees from Uganda who have vuluneerily decided to come back home. I have being training many peoples on Trauma awareness with my other 22 colleagues in saving the communities in South Sudan and I hope we will be good partners to help South Sudanese communities who are suffering from all classes of problems to recover from all this.

Many and we hope to collaborate more and share ideas to help our self in order to help other. hopesouthsudan9@gmail.com

Spam
Photo of Chau Tang Duncan
Team

Hi HOPE South Sudan can you clarify if your organisation is also working with co-operatives looking to expand micro-finance support of their member base, or trusted lending circles already using the group lending methodology, or micro-finance providers who don’t have their own APP. Having access to finance & support to start their own businesses would benefit returnees establish a new life, and I am curious of your thoughts on this and if you know of instances where is is happening effectively.

Spam
Photo of Bremley Lyngdoh
Team

These are my last 3 sets of important questions for you and your team before the final review stage begins.

Can you please list 3 bullet points - just one line each - short and sweet of what feedback you got from your mentor on your idea?
1.
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Can you please list 3 bullet points - just one line each - short and sweet of what feedback you got from your user on your idea?
1.
2.
3.
Can you please list 3 bullet points - just one line each - short and sweet of what feedback you got from your expert on your idea?
1.
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Bremley Lyngdoh  answering your questions below.

Can you please list 3 bullet points - just one line each - short and sweet of what feedback you got from your mentor on your idea?
1. Need a simple description of the user journey. Ie) how easy it is for the user to access cash & finance, to make payments, to make transfers to family & other people’s account.
2. Explain how Shariah compliance can be met for the Muslim community
3. Explain our due diligence process, to integrate social and environmental for the partners as well as for the people/end-user

Can you please list 3 bullet points - just one line each - short and sweet of what feedback you got from your user on your idea?
1. Need to work with reputable groups already managing micro-finance
2. Need to market locally to the end-user community to get wider acceptance
3. To differentiate from what is currently on offer, transfers mPesa, Paypal etc

Can you please list 3 bullet points - just one line each - short and sweet of what feedback you got from your expert on your idea?
1. Be clear what the current request for funding was for
2. Explain of what was being described - already existed, and what was being proposed
3. Explain how would non-financial objectives would result from a financial inclusion technology

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Photo of Michele Pistone
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@Chau Tang Duncan your project looks so exciting; best of luck with the challenge.

I was introduced to you through Bremley Lyngdoh , who suggested that you may want to extend the reach of Migration Law Program to the US. If you are interested in meeting others in the US, please let me know.

Here are three quick thoughts on like-minded people/groups in the US:

Next month, I am organizing a conference for the Center for Migration Studies in NY (I am co-associate editor of the Journal on Migration and Human Security, a CMS publication). Here is a link to the conference website, https://cmsny.org/event/2019-symposium/

Some of the speakers at that event, in particular, Professors Alex Aleinikoff (former Deputy UNHCR Commissioner and now at Zolberg Center for Migration and Mobility at the New School) and Leah Zamore (at NYU), are very interested in ideas around creating opportunities for refugee economic development. I would be happy to tell them of your work. They are more academics and researchers than on the ground activists like you. But they may have ideas for you.

The group that is on the ground, and worth looking into, is https://refugeeinvestments.org run by John Kluge. I have not yet been introduced to them. Maybe OpenIDEO can make an introduction for you; I think they may have a connection with the Skoll Foundation.

Finally, the Tent Partnership for Refugees, https://www.tent.org, is also working in that space. They are working with companies to create jobs and also providing funding to refugee-entrepreneurs for social mobility. They are definitely worth looking into.

I hope this helps you in your efforts to build bridges with efforts taking place in the US. Please keep me posted as the idea evolves.

My best,
Michele

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Photo of Chau Tang Duncan
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Thankyou Michele Pistone  Some great suggestions. I'll have a look into them and will be in contact & will keep you posted on refinements. Regards, Chau

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Michele Pistone I've looked into the Tent Partnerships for refugees, where they plan to support 500 new businesses by 2020 through providing them with access to 6-8 months incubation, training & funding. Similar to start-up programs but for refugees currently in host countries of Germany & France. The refugee investment network is of interest for us, particularly they list impact investments. Goodbanc is a potential delivery platform for these organisations, as we do not operate as an asset manager or MFI. We would like to partner with the companies that not only provide finance, but meet social and environmental objectives. Current lending facilities and funds invest in 'proven' refugee lending programs, however these have not evolved beyond traditional microfinance methodology. We are looking to establish partnerships with delivery partners, who currently support microfinance activities directly, such as co-operatives looking to expand support of their member base, or trusted lending circles already using the group lending methodology, or micro-finance providers who don’t have their own (mobile) APP.

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Thanks for posting the project - we are working on micro financial services for refugee communities as well https://challenges.openideo.com/challenge/2019-bridgebuilder-challenge/ideas/business-financing-for-refugee-entrepreneurs/ . Be good to knowledge share.

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Photo of Chau Tang Duncan
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Hi Zulfiqar Deo yes, as we go through the ideo stages, lets reconnect to share our learnings. The first users have been interviewed in UK and Sweden. And through them, the bridge will be made to those in Africa. After that, we hope to scale to other communities around the world. I myself arrived in Australia as a refugee from Vietnam, and I see from my own family situation, how access to finance may have helped them early on to be self sufficient & create meaningful work through entrepreneurial activities

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Chau Tang Duncan  Look forward to this.

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Zulfiqar Deo can you share your link or project again please as it didn't click through. Are you currently delivering microfinance, and if you currently provide the end users with social and/or environmental support.

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Thanks for looking us up again. We are part of another program now and I feel it would confuse the message if I left the link up. We have had significant problems with peipt not getting what we do. So trying to simplify things as much as possible.

With regards to your question - yes our approach encourages take up of eco and ethical products.

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Fantastic Idea Chau, on connecting people on the move to their communities with micro-financing. Would be great to discuss on ideas if you have some time, perhaps some synergies. I am at narayan@accountabilitylab.org and soni@accountabilitylab.org you can also see our ideas on supporting the voices of people on the move - https://challenges.openideo.com/challenge/2019-bridgebuilder-challenge/ideas/community-on-the-move-building-ecosystem-of-voice-and-accountability/comments#c-c4a69339d30eb5ba018c3cd5f149ef9c

On quick note, my initial thought is,
Nepali migrants often face a similar situation after they return to their communities. Their social and economic reintegration has always been challenging. Many of them try to start new businesses with very few resources, and it is very difficult for them to access to finance and other business support. I thought, Migration Lab might be able to provide advice, guidance, networks and finance for entrepreneurial projects or startups begun by users of the Citizen Helpdesks. Another challenge migrants face is transferring their income to their families and children. There is no reliable platform other than the usual banking and money transfer companies in Nepal to assist people on the move- and these services can be slow and very expensive. Migration Lab has a digital payment platform which could be transformative and which we would love to discuss further.

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Thanks Narayan Adhikari I'll get in touch with you after next week as I have a lot of travel in the coming week. Love to learn more from your experiences and how the Goodbanc platform can help the communities in Nepal, and also what work & doesn't work on the ground. Not only transfer of wealth, access to finance, but the ability to earn interest on their savings is something missing. We are looking for partners with aligned mission to use the platform, to the support for the end users.

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Great!

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Currently migrants can transfer their income to their families & children through remittances, and as you say it isn't always reliable, slow and can be expensive. That is because there is no 'connection' made without a bank account, which they need identification and sometime need to qualify to even open an account with a bank. That is why digital inclusion is a game changer, especially as technology is borderless. The person on the ground currently receives the money via the microfiannce institutions, ATMs and also through their M-Pesa and Paypal accounts. Our technology & platform can support the flow (of money & digital information for the flow of money) to reduce the risk and fees (so more money ends up where it should and as low cost as possible). Currently we want to deliver through existing microfinance providers who don't have an APP or digital method, or through co-operatives or trusted lending circles who uses the well known & proven group lending methodology (as old as micro-credit), to deliver more services & transparency. On the back end, we want to support those this social and environmental objectives, not just lending out the money.

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Dear Chao,

Congratulations for a very impressive initiative. I'm afraid I lack the expertise to respond to your first and third questions, but I do have some insight on the second question and also some general comments/questions to consider as you refine this presentation. Most importantly it was not completely clear from this narrative what the current request for funding was for, i.e., what the scaling-up of this model would consist of (testing new technology? expanding into new countries? new sorts of activities? first-time micro-finance?). I read this over twice but was still confused as to what - of what was being described - already existed, and what was being proposed. It was also not clear whether Migration Lab aimed to produce technology to be made available to the development and humanitarian community, or aimed to establish it's own service provision programs, or both. Most confusing is the reference to very non-financial objectives of peace-building, social cohesion, resolution of land issues, inter-cultural communication; it is not at all clear how any of this would result from a financial inclusion technology. I know that space is limited in this format but it would be very helpful to clarify these issues. On the second question above, I would say that my experience is that the use of micro-finance or self-help groups to acheive other ends (other than as a source of financial support to their members) requires a great deal of accompaniement and generally doesn't work unless there is an existing strong collective desire to engage in some issue on the part of group members. At any rate, I think the objective of financial inclusion is a hugely admirable one and I'm sure that your work will continue to further it. Good luck!

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Thankyou Kevin Hartigan . Apologies for slow response. I was travelling extensively the last week, and wanted to answer your questions sufficiently. I was gathering feedback from stakeholders, including funds that fund microfinance organisations, microfinance organisations and the UNHCR operating in middle east and Africa, about the challenges and what solutions they need to support more persons of concern as well as supporting microfinance for entrepreneurship etc. I was especially surprise to learn that 17 years is the average time a person spends as a refugee, and that current funding only just cover 50% of what they need. Current systems use technology for ID (iris scan identification for cash assistance, food programs, cash card to pay for items). Need to move beyond just payments but provide access to services (ability to borrow, save & earn interest, remit money, generate invoice & receive payment for goods sold etc) one simple sign-up for all the services.

Migration Lab aim to provide our technology to be made available to the development and humanitarian community. The savings & P2P lending platform has already been beta-tested over 4 months with $25,000 delivering 7-10% return. What is currently available to the community is single services, such as remittances or microfinance or open bank account), which is not easily accessible and with high fees. Our model is to provide an full cycle solution to support the goals of financial, social and environmental outcomes. From accessing credit to start enterprise, to being able to save & earn decent interest, to being supported by families/communities in other host countries that can provide financial support. The use of technology will provide backend governance, proof of funds flowing to where it should, and providing sufficient data to help attract further private capital to expand the funding pool beyond.
We require funds to seed the initial funding pool, to be made available to refugees/IDP in Uganda/Kenya for example, via known lending circles that have track record to deliver the social and environmental outcomes beyond providing finance to support entrepreneurship. Funding request will also support additional technology development of the APP interface, due diligence, operational support and technical assistance on governance & reporting. We need to enhance existing process & digitise it, and addresses their specific needs for a simple experience.
Non-financial objectives of peace-building, social cohesion, resolution of land issues, inter-cultural communication will be achieve through the partnership we establish to deliver the financial services. Ie) existing groups we work with in Sweden/UK have linkages to Uganda/Kenya etc. already working on peacebuilding, healing trauma, social cohesion with host communities, and supporting technical assistance for sustainable agriculture for small farmers/land holders. However, they do not have direct microfinance lending experience. We are looking to establish partnerships with delivery partners, who currently support microfinance activities directly, such as co-operatives looking to expand support of their member base, or trusted lending circles already using the group lending methodology, or micro-finance providers who don’t have their own APP. Our platform is invested in Mangrove restoration, where carbon offset support the environmental outcomes of any product/services delivered through our technology. By integrating the environmental to the social element of the current lending options, we want to support more Environmental, Social & Financial outcomes for every user.
By using the technology to automate process, provide access to a pool of finance, and a way to digitally capture the user experience & journey (borrow, repayment, save, and then give forward by lending to others), we want to empower users and also provide sufficient credibility to data to help bring in more private capital (development funders, fund of funds) to support the development and humanitarian community deliver more services to the end user in a way that also supports environmental, social & financial outcomes. Sister Marilyn LACEY, rsm useful to get your additional input for potential partnership for your work on female inclusion -with the micro-enterprise project with S.Sud women in 4 refugee camps along the northern Uganda border, particularly as the trusted network for your work with self-regulating groups of 15 refugee women.

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In addition, I also found out that Like most East African nations, the government of Uganda has not imposed restrictions or regulations on online or mobile payments. Businesses that are ready to offer online payments must comply with the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard and regulations of Visa, MasterCard and other credit card companies, but have no further bureaucracy in the form of national restrictions or regulations. So it would not be difficult for our technology to support end users, as it is possible to open an account immediately and start accepting online and mobile payments.

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Hi Chau. This is a wonderful project! Congratulations on being shortlisted and thank you for what you're doing. I'm writing, in part, at the suggestion of one of our coaches, Bremley Lyngdoh. We have also submitted an idea hat has been shortlisted (to empower return migrants from the US to Mexico and prepare them to teach English in Mexican public schools) and Bremely suggested that our interests may align and there might be ways to collaborate with you to extend your model to include our project in Mexico. Our idea is posted at https://challenges.openideo.com/challenge/2019-bridgebuilder-challenge/improve/empowering-return-migrants-as-inspiring-teachers-ermit/comments#c-7afb8ad64686a5e7d7223266a906cf5f and I can be reached at jcitron -at- educando.org and I'd love to be in touch further. Jim

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Thank you for sharing this idea Chau Tang Duncan i loved the approach and hopefully since you operate in uganda, Bold Nation Agency can benefit from this platform too.

However, is it possible to also now look at not just supporting refugee groups or host community groups separately but provide avenue for the two groups to merge into one and collaboratively work together. I believe the results can generate enormous long term meaningful impact interms of fostering peace and co-existance.

Best of luck,
Ikong James 

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Ikong James Thanks, sorry for slow response, I was travelling a lot and since your email we will be looking closely how we can work in Uganda as well. Integration of the groups is optimal, sometimes the needs vary so it will depend on the ways those communities are connected on the ground. We rely on microfinance groups and self help groups to undertake the on ground verification or the end user. People wanting a borderless savings account, access to finance, access to digital payment solutions. The self organising group will help the users get onto the platform, and provide capacity building to ensure people & enterprises are supported so the loans can be repaid. Would use your idea to help during the refinement stage & be in touch if I have further questions. Many thanks & regards, Chau

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Chau Tang Duncan appreciate the response and im happy to help and open to answer any questions you have have in regards to the on ground verification and coonection. Infact if it helps we as Bold Nation Agency could apply for a loan with you and we could act as a bench mark for your evaluation on groups having both new comers and host community working toegther so you can also encourage creation of such groups more.

Anyways you can reach me through my email ikongjames14@gmail.com incase of any inquires.

Best of luck in the refinement stage, James.

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Photo of Bremley Lyngdoh
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Can you please confirm if you have made contact with your mentor and if you have agreed on a date to have your one hour check in call to discuss about your idea?

Can you please confirm if you have thought of 3 questions for your idea to post on your comments section that you would need an expert to answer by 20th September?

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Bremley Lyngdoh I have received email intro from my mentor & have proposed time to catch up for the 1-1 hour of power. I will think of my 3 questions & post before 20/9. Thankyou

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Hello Chau Tang Duncan 

My name is Gabriela Rivas. Bremley Lyngdoh suggested I reach out to you because we may benefit from collaborating. I read over your brief and really love the idea. It is possible that the idea I submitted could further your cause by making it easier for the populations you are trying to reach to access funds and make transactions. I was thinking that using an RFID bracelet for identification purposes, as well as extending the use of the bracelet to include linking it to a bank account or debit card could help people on the move. Here's a link to the brief I submitted: https://challenges.openideo.com/challenge/2019-bridgebuilder-challenge/improve/gps-rfid-asylum-seeker-id-bracelets-and-web-application-for-tracking-family-members/comments#c-6d4e1d9e508f67640682038edc3856ff

I would love to speak with you and hear your thoughts. I hope to hear from you soon!

Regards,
Gabriela Rivas

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Hi Gabriela Rivas Thankyou for the outreach. An ID bracelet would be another form of identify used to help verify the end user. Currently our platform rely on microfinance and self help groups to self organise the people accessing the savings account or those borrowing to fund their enterprises. These communities verify the person, the purpose for borrowing, and any capacity building required to help their enterprise succeed, and thus able to repay the loans. Happy to think through some possible collaboration with the the RFID bracelet and will be in touch. Regards, Chau

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Photo of Bremley Lyngdoh
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Congratulations on making it to the Improve Phase as part of the 40 Shortlisted Proposals!

Now the real improvement work begins so please prepare yourself to get constructive feedback from the mentors who will comment on your idea and experts who will question about your idea.

They will test the Desirability of your idea - if that is what people desire, they will test the Viability of your idea - if it is financially viable and they will test the Feasibility of your idea - if it is technically and organizationally possible to be executed in the real world.

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Thankyou Bremley Lyngdoh We look forward to being matched with our mentor and fine tune our idea to ensure we address the needs of the end user, enabling digital finance & savings for diaspora, refugees & IDPs

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Photo of Patricia
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Dear Chau Tang Duncan ,

This is such a great idea! At Five One Labs, we've recently been thinking a lot about how to connect diaspora communities who may want to provide financing, with people on the ground in Iraq who could use the financing as loans to launch businesses or other endeavors. What are some of your success stories? How do your users withdraw money from your platform and then repay their loans later?

Looking forward to learning more, and would love to connect offline.

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Photo of Marie-Noëlle. RUBANGIZA
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Bonjour Chau et l'équipe, félicitations pour votre idée. Nous avons également un projet d'autonomisation et de développement que nous mettons en place en République Démocratique du Congo (RDC), plus précisément dans le Katanga, à Kongolo. Nous souhaiterions collaborer avec vous pour bénéficier de votre expertise ainsi qu'un support financier. Ce projet a un impact sur la diaspora d'origine africaine, de nationalité belge. Bonne initiative et excellent programme.

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Bonjour Marie-Noëlle. RUBANGIZA Bayubasire Joel Djanda (Dr Joel); we would be happy to incorporate your experiences/feedback for Congo-Africa-Belgium connection. Our first users will be those interviewed in UK & Sweden and through them, the bridge will be made to those in Africa. After that, we hope to scale to other communities around the world. I myself arrived in Australia as a refugee from Vietnam, and I see from my own family situation, how access to finance may have helped them early on to be self sufficient & create meaningful work through entrepreneurial activities.

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Photo of Marie-Noëlle. RUBANGIZA
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Bonjour Chau Tang Duncan, merci pour votre réponse. Je voulais, en passant, vous informer que notre idée s'élargit aussi à un microcrédit qui est un crédit d’un montant très faible, octroyé sans garantie , qui permettra au bénéficiaire de faire un petit investissement en vue de générer des revenus tout en lui laissant un délai de remboursement suffisamment long pour ne pas risquer de le mettre en situation d’insolvabilité dont l'objectif se veut vecteur d’un développement financier mais aussi facteur d’un développement social. Nous souhaitons travailler en partenariat avec d'autres structures ayant de l'expérience dans le domaine et ayant des fonds pour soutenir cette idée.

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Hi Chau Tang Duncan Your idea is undeniably super important and inspiring. Best of luck for you, and lucky are the beneficiary refugees and migrants.

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This project would a game changer for IDPs , refugees & returnees of productive age 15-50 years old who for one reason or the other would be idling due to lack of opportunities as a result of being in hostile & new environment. With this project they would innovative & optimistic with financial transfers to those engaged in the project will enable them positive socioeconomic empowerment decisions while sustaining the environment to be resilient to vagaries of climate change. This is a win win project for environment & displaced persons.

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Hi Edwyn Odeny Odhiambo Yes, it will be a game changer for IDPs, refugees & returnees. Our first users will be those interviewed in UK & Sweden and through them, the bridge will be made to those in Africa. After that, we hope to scale to other communities around the world. I myself arrived in Australia as a refugee from Vietnam, and I see from my own family situation, how access to finance may have helped them early on, to be self sufficient & create meaningful work through entrepreneurial activities

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Chau Tang Duncan Loved learning more! The Giving Wall concept as a way for the public to meet their unique and urgent needs as you work to support them on their journey toward financial thriving seems like something we should most certainly discuss! Great job!

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Hi Becky Crump  thank you for your interest and we would love to collaborate with you. We want to support micro finanancing programmes for the IDPs with the help of social entrepreneurs working with self help groups on the ground. I am happy to share with you that our Goodbanc technology is proven, we have paying clients with several hundred thousand in transactions, now we need capital to scale up to hundreds of thousands of users and make a real impact for refugees, IDPs and the diaspora in the UK and EU countries to help them onboard.

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Thanks Becky Crump The first users that have been interviewed in UK and Sweden. And through them, the bridge will be made to those in Africa. After that, we hope to scale to other communities around the world.

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Hi Chau,
Please take a moment to read my idea on “Demistifying Epilepsy”. I believe that there is a tramendous potential for us to work together. As we arrive in the last phase of our project, they idea is to help the communities become self sufficient and able to provide their own education and testing for epilepsy. Your organization could play substantial part in making it a reality. It sounds like a terrific program.

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Hi lucien kilonda Thankyou for your interest. As we progress through ideo, let reconnect to see how the finance platform can help your community with microfinance & payments.

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Photo of Donna DeGennaro
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Hi Chau and team. I would enjoy speaking to you about microfinancing for our ream in Guatemala. They are well on their way to managing their program, yet for nonprofits, funding streams wax and wane. Great program! .

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Hi Donna DeGennaro  thank you for your valuable feedback and we would love to collaborate with you in Guatemala to support your micro finanancing programmes for the IDPs with the help of social entrepreneurs working with self help groups on the ground. I am happy to share with you that our Goodbanc technology is proven, we have paying clients with several hundred thousand in transactions, now we need capital to scale upto hundreds of thousands of users and make a real impact for refugees, IDPs and the diaspora in the UK and EU countries to help them onboard.

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Fantastic. I'm traveling this week and will be back in touch with you when I return. What is the best contact information?

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Photo of Rita Brito e Faro
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Hi Chau,
Great to see an initiative tackling such a neglected problem. Congrats!

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Thankyou Rita Brito e Faro I really like what you are doing as well.
Our first users will be those interviewed in UK & Sweden and through them, the bridge will be made to those in Africa. After that, we hope to scale to other communities around the world. I myself arrived in Australia as a refugee from Vietnam, and I see from my own family situation, how access to finance may have helped them early on to be self sufficient & create meaningful work through entrepreneurial activities

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Thankyou Bremley Lyngdoh for these resources, we are looking forward to contributing to the IDEO platform, and bring more awareness to the plight of refugees and IDPs with regards to their lack of access to finance.

Specifically we are providing refugees and IDPs with access to financial services which are often withheld or not available to them from regular banks. Finance is very hard to access due to lack of credit history and this means that entrepreneurs within IDP communities in the Horn of Africa are denied access to credit, because their family's in countries like UK and Sweden take such a long and difficult journey to get access to bank and finance services.

We can eliminate that wait time, giving access as refugees arrive, and therefore they can send finance to their family members still stuck in refugee camps or as IDPs in Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya and Chad.

Building the bridge between recently arrived refugees, and their IDP and refugee family members still in their country of origin or camps - is absolutely necessary if we are to help the collective family group, transition beyond survival, to truly thriving and having sustainable livelihoods. Team 

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Thanks for elaborating on your team idea Chau Tang Duncan  Tom Duncan  Muna Ismail Rishab Khanna and I look forward to your progress on this platform. I wonder if you could share/think deeper about the community and users you are serving with respect to the challenge question - even though affected by poverty, conflict and ecosystem collapse which people on the move do you see your idea most addressing? How are you currently interacting with them via your networks on the ground? Which other people around the world would you envision the Migration Lab Program could be beneficial for? The prototyping toolkit could be useful is seeing what other aspects you can test: https://uploads-ssl.webflow.com/5a147545b687370001bfd10c/5d1669546ad3cba5e81bf634_Prototyping%20Toolkit_BB2019.pdf

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isidore hakizimana "Claiming Our Voice"  would be great to collaborate with you on our migration lab. Could you share more about your project.

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On identifying Baringo as starting point would be good but contextualizing realities on the ground would help us. In Baringo we shall be dealing with episodic IDPs created by cattle rustling which is a terrible security challenge due to sophisticated weapons( AK47 ) in the hands of uneducated youth Driven but culture & informal cattle economy. These are sporadic attacks & very lethal. National government security system are operating in these areas all the time . Based on the complexity & diversity prevailing in Kenya a keener look into intervention strategy is key because some areas you must work with national government & sometimes it takes time to bring government on board because modalities & formalities of engaging them. I am putting this forward to help us in shaping the project.

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Mercy Beyond Borders (currently proposing CLAIMING OUR VOICE) also has a micro-enterprise project with S.Sud women in 4 refugee camps along the northern Uganda border. We work with self-regulating groups of 15 refugee women each; we provide loans and training and case management support; collect repayments after 10 months and reissue 2nd loans to qualified borrowers. We use a designated bank account in Uganda for the repayments so as to avoid theft etc. Our reach is limited but our model is working. We'd be interested in knowing more about your proposal.

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Thank you Sister Marilyn LACEY, rsm for sharing the inspiring work the Mercy Beyond Borders is doing in South Sudan in inside the 4 refugee camps along the norther Ugandan border. It is good to know that you are working with self help groups of 15 refugee women per group and that your model is making an impact on the ground. We can support your mission on the ground and support your self help groups as we are working directly with individuals, partners and communities, to co-create and co-implement, access to a platform for finance that is supported by microfinance self help groups using digital payments technology. Finance is provided for the people where they are, refugee families & IDPs in Sweden & UK, and countries in Africa etc. Self help groups are well established as a way to secure & stabilise livelihoods. Migration Lab Programs translates self help groups onto a digital payments program that is global, to address the lack of financial services for recently arrived refugees & their families, still in camps and their original homes (which are in conflict zones). For example the IFC describes the Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya as a $56 million market. The Goodbanc platform can provide finance these social entrepreneurs living in the refugee camps in Kenya with our trust circle using secure digital payments. We can provide high quality savings account with up to 7% yield per annum, fully Carbon positive account to really empower refugees to take the next step on their lives with confidence.

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Edwyn Odeny Odhiambo  thank you for your valuable feedback and we look forward to working with you and through the complexity & diversity prevailing in Kenya as we progress from ideo to project.

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Photo of Felico Atabong
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I love this idea. We will like to collaborate with you because presently in Cameroon especially in the English speaking regions, there is a huge need for livelihood recovery for IDPs.
Please I will like to partner if possible for the implementation in my country.

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Photo of Chau Tang Duncan
Team

Hi Felico Atabong thank you for your valuable feedback and we would love to collaborate with you in Cameroon to finance sustainable livelihood programmes for the IDPs with the help of social entrepreneurs working with self help groups on the ground. I am happy to share with you that our Goodbanc technology is proven, we have paying clients with several hundred thousand in transactions, now we need capital to scale upto hundreds of thousands of users and make a real impact for refugees, IDPs and the diaspora in the UK and EU countries to help them onboard.

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Photo of Abrahim Safi
Team

Nice project, hope going well and the migrants can get help

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Photo of Chau Tang Duncan
Team

Thanks Abrahim Safi we look forward to working with you to help build bridges between communities in host countries and those still in areas of conflict.

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Photo of Alan Channer
Team

During my interactions with returnees in Cambodia, IDPs in Kenya and refugees in Chad, I have seen how difficult it is to rebuild a livelihood from zero. So often the missing element is that little bit of investment to get something moving again. Often the best-placed people to do that are family elsewhere, through remittances.
By creating an innovative finance platform which links those who are in dire need with those who are usually the best placed to understand their needs, and who are in a position to help them, this project is a game-changer.
I am delighted to be able to bring my networks and my experience working in peacebuilding, environment and communications across Africa, Asia and Oceania to the project. Thanks so much Chau for the inspiration and vision.

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Photo of Chau Tang Duncan
Team

Alan Channer great to have you on board with us. We want to help build the bridge between communities and improve lives through better access to finance and resources.

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Photo of Rishab Khanna
Team

Sarah Refugee Info Bus - Multilingual Legal Information + Facebook Messaging Service it would be great to collaborate with you on the Goodbanc platform and the @Migration Lab Program - A Finance Platform for Refugees and Migrant Re-Builders, we could provide the content on the financial inclusion and help the refugees and IDPs to use many of the financial services. Tom  Chau Tang Duncan  Bremley Lyngdoh 

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Photo of Sarah Story
Team

that would be great Rishab - perhaps your team could come and meet us in Northern France and Greece and we could advertise the opportunity to our online service users!

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Photo of Rishab Khanna
Team

Chau Tang Duncan  @Tom Duncan I think we should create revolving loans with no interest for active users.

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Photo of Sai Kishore Nellore
Team

Great plan Chau, the linking of blockchain technology with SHGs would facilitate transparency and trust. This would help SHGs to access microfinance as the credibility is built over a period of time. Look forward to its deployment.

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Photo of Chau Tang Duncan
Team

Hi Sai Kishore Nellore technology can be a force for good, delivering finance directly to the the communities that need it the most, with least amount of friction and cost. We are excited to be working with & supporting the communities, to create sustainable livelihoods for all.

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Photo of Munjireen Sifat
Team

This is such great work! What have you found in your prototype testing? "The Lab will provide diaspora, refugees, and self-help microfinance groups, a finance platform & digital payments solution, to support social entrepreneurship, activities that heal people & restore land, fighting climate change while creating sustainable livelihoods for their communities." I know that your geographic focus is outside the scope of @SafarTas: Empowering Syrian Refugees and Giving their Communities a Taste of Syrian Culture but it would be amazing to collaborate or share resources to aid these vulnerable populations!

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Photo of Chau Tang Duncan
Team

Thanks Munjireen Sifat the technology is proven and easily implemented and scaled. The opportunity to implement quickly to the target diaspora & refugees will rely on the self-help microfinance groups & self organising & governance process. We will continue to work with these communities to articulate an all purpose governance structure, so the finance platform will be user-product-fit. There is room in the future for expanding to other communities and geographies.

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Photo of Muna Ismail
Team

These are Grace Ojera's words during the interview I conducted with her:

My names are Grace Akello Ojera. I come from Northern Uganda, an Acholi by Tribe.
I am the CEO of AWOV (Acholi women of valour).
The organisation is a social enterprise formed to support Acholi women who have been in IDP camps.

I have looked at ways how these women could get themselves out of poverty in an environmentally friendly way, using locally sourced materials which are readily available.

I then came up with two sources: clay and calabash products.

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Photo of Chau Tang Duncan
Team

Thanks Muna Ismail Grace's story, vision and journey is one of hope and inspiration for sustainable livelihoods. We hope Goodbanc can support many others like Grace to bridge the gap of financial inclusion and access, by supporting social & other entrepreneur activities utilising locally available resources.

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Photo of Bayubasire Joel Djanda
Team

Being a refugee itself is a big challenge. And being both a refugee and social entrepreneur is more than a challenge itself. I am personally proud of the initiator of this project for the most forgotten in the business world. Bridging the financial gap and providing refugees around the world with access to financial services through digital payment technology means stopping the flow of blood. Myself, I am a refugee. It means I know what the life of a refugee is awkward. I hope that with the aid of "Goodbanc" project, our young entrepreneurs will be more able to go far in the pursuit of their goals. Thank you all for your efforts!

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Photo of Chau Tang Duncan
Team

Thanks Bayubasire Joel Djanda We hope to support refugees & young entrepreneurs to bridge the challenges of financial inclusion.

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Photo of Bremley Lyngdoh
Team

Hi Chau Tang Duncan thank you for sharing your idea and welcome to the Bridgebuilder Challenge 2019. The challenge's idea phase will be closing on 17th August. Could you clarify if you are working directly with the people on the move in the refugee camps building a bridge between Europe and the Horn of Africa? What are the results of the project so far in your prototype phase?

I would suggest also to have a look at our challenge brief: https://ideo.to/K22qFn and our challenge evaluation criteria: https://ideo.to/NQ6TlJ

To help guide your research, you can have a look at our community research toolkit: https://uploads-ssl.webflow.com/5a147545b687370001bfd10c/5d1669526ad3cb33291bf633_User-Experience-Interview.pdf, and possibly create and share with us the project user i.e. the refugees turned social entrepreneurs journey map which is very important to integrate into this platform as you progress in the challenge!

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Photo of Chau Tang Duncan
Team

Thank you for your welcome and direction on where to find further resources.
Our team & project partners are working directly with diaspora and refugees in UK and Sweden from refugee camps and areas of conflict in the Horn of Africa. We have specific case studies in Kenya, Sweden & UK where we are working with entrepreneurs to design financial access solutions to fund other entrepreneurs. We will post updates & visuals soon.

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Photo of Tom Duncan
Team

Great links thank you Bremley Lyngdoh 

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Photo of HOPE South Sudan
Team

Thank you Bremley for this wonderful sharing and this will help. Us Alot in achieving the dreams of helping many IDPs and refugees across the world and in particular IDPs and Returneers in South Sudan who have been in so much pain and suffering that they have not deceived to be. The war in the Country have created horrible wounds in the hearts of peoples who are becoming more overwhelmed with their situations and thing of having no more hope in life. I know with the help of many people and we'll wishers who would support our comunities,we can make them. Once again regain then lost pright they have and restore back the glory while instead them with Justice, peace and reconciliation among the different ethnic groups in South Sudan.

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Photo of Rishab Khanna
Team

Hassan mohamud, who has lived in Sweden for 30 years and originally moved from Somalia, via Kenya, says that we need to learn about the existing schemes in East Africa, especially in Uganda. We need to strengthen the delivery of existing schemes. In Uganda, they give many refugees land to grow their own food and build their own shelter. Uganda is hosting almost 2 million refugees, who could have traveled to Libyan coast.

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Photo of Bayubasire Joel Djanda
Team

Hello,
I am Dr. Bayubasire Joel, a refugee from the Democratic Republic of Congo. I live in Kampala, the capital city of the republic of Uganda. The total number of refugees in Uganda as of the July 31, 2019 is 1,313,802 and not 2,000,000 (Source - UNHCR, Government of Uganda, Office of the Prime Minister: https://ugandarefugees.org/en/country/uga)

Thank you!

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Photo of Muna Ismail
Team

I am so excited about this project and the potential it has in uplifting many poor and mostly rural communities in Chad, Uganda and Greater Horn of Africa countries. Most of these countries are either fragile or conflict-affected and poor households are the ones to bear the brunt of many social and structural problems in these countries. Lack of financial assets to help sustain a livelihood for communities in rural areas is one of the main problems that contribute to population displacement. In addition to the impact of Climate Change and land degradation. Creating sustainable livelihood opportunities for rural IDP communities in big urban cities can help families at household levels become more resilient to shocks of climate variabilities and encourage them to return or stay in their own villages and towns. Instead of migrating further and risk their lives by crossing seas to seek livelihood opportunities.

The video embedded in the article below illustrates some of these issues that communities in Somaliland also face.
https://www.irishtimes.com/news/world/africa/global-warming-and-somaliland-s-climate-refugees-1.3977695

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Photo of Chau Tang Duncan
Team

Thanks Muna Ismail we look forward to working with you and Refugees as Re-BuildersTM programme of IofC UK, who has self-help groups which are developing sustainable livelihood projects in their communities of origin in fragile and conflict-affected countries.

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Photo of Rishab Khanna
Team

Thanks for creating this @Bremley and @Chau, today I met one of the asylum seekers, I have been supporting for 3 years, he got a third rejection from the Migration agency. In fact he has to hire a lawyer in Stockholm, translate all his documents and start with a fresh application. He is originally from Afghanistan and Iran, an introduced me to bit coin 3 years back. I wonder if we should add Afghanistan in the scope of the project.

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Photo of Chau Tang Duncan
Team

Thanks Rishab Khanna We are open to receiving input into the design from all groups that have direct connection to the diaspora & refugees. Self help microfinance groups, acts as the lines of trust for access to loans. They are self organising, work together to issue finance to themselves and 'guarantee' the repayment of the loan after vetting the borrower & idea. This is an established system that already works in many developing countries.