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Multi-Dimensional Omosuto

Personal observations of a 19 year old Kenyan who has lived in the village and the city

Photo of Alex Mativo
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My maternal grandfather told me to give a 1/10th  of money I receive to my paternal grandparents. I met someone in school who wanted to build a company that deals with remittance , I saw this as an opportunity to send my paternal grandparents money. During outreach I saw motorcycle people outside who just wanted to take advantage of the old and visual impaired even those who accompanied them to collect their pension from the chief. The people I was working with in the outreach eye camp knew what was happening but there was nothing much we could do about it, because even the chief and police knew this happens if the old are not careful. The old wanted to get pension first before they get their eyes checked. My paternal grandfather wasn’t given pension because fortunately we have been able to take care of him to the extent the government doesn’t think he needs it. A turning point on focusing on supporting the dreams and obligations of those over 50 now rather than later was when my paternal grandmother passed away on 18/10/2016. The last time I was with her I gave her money and remember the smile on her face, as a female in the community it is usual males who are given money. When we used to visit she would often give us amabere amaruruanu (soured milk), love and care translated into a sense of obligation. I remember my paternal grandfather only used his phone for M-Pesa mobile money, anytime he got a message he knew it had to be money, until an M-Pesa agent had to convince him once that he was not denying him money, someone had sent him an SMS not money. I had to rely on my parents to contribute to the burial financial contributions of my paternal grandmother since I couldn’t conveniently send money to Kenya from Mauritius.I was given a rooster by my maternal grandfather, traditionally it would be a hen that would lay eggs, I indirectly followed the tradition, I didn’t have it killed, I got two hens to get eggs. Being given a rooster reminded my father of the tradition of omosuto which is a return gift of progeny from bride price. I had to rely on others to cover the expenses for me. I was told I need to prepare for when others will need me to actively and directly contribute to unity and financial prosperity of the extended family, my mother and maternal grandfather emphasize this. Africa has a large increasingly tech savvy youth population, what will happen when they grow old?

What is a provocation or insight that might inspire others during this challenge?

The fortune at the bottom of the pyramid requires a never settle approach, it’s unfortunate that such double bottom line opportunities are neglected, not only the privileged have dreams and obligations everyone deserves an opportunity to fulfill dreams and obligations that better the community.

Tell us about your work experience:

My colleagues and I founded Nip capital, a startup that enables SMEs and unbanked people in emerging markets to transfer money across Africa cheaply and instantly.

Specifically, please check all that apply:

  • I'm not currently involved in a credit union, but am curious to learn more!


Join the conversation:

Photo of Kate Rushton

Hi Alex!

The ideas phase of this challenge is open for another two weeks. I hope to see your ideas there.

This is the link to where you can post your ideas -

Photo of Alex Mativo

Hi Kate,

Definitely,  I think with this investment clubs, they can have access to basic financial services and get the necessary education they need when engaging with financial technology. 
After living abroad for a long time i realized that sending money back home to my grandparents was a very painstaking and costly process because existing solutions are slow and have steep fees. Consequently they are unable to invest or meet all their expenses.

Since majority of people in this demographic rely on pension money or remittances from relatives outside their own country we founded Nip capital, a company that offers cheap and instant money transfers in emerging markets like Africa so that the working and retired demographic can send or receive money cheaply and instantly from friends and family  anywhere within the Continent. 

How we do this is by plugging into mobile money services and financial institutions. 

Kindly check out

Photo of Kate Rushton

Hi Alex!

Thank you for your post. It really emphasizes the challenges of remittance and ensuring the elderly can engage with technologies and receive their money safely. 

Could something like Investment Clubs mentioned by Joseph Joram  help pay for the cost of eye treatments before the money is saved up from a pension?

Also, can you tell me more about Nip Capital?