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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

94 comments

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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.

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.

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

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?

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.

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