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Mobile Money Systems for Humanitarian Delivery
One of the factors driving the steady shift towards employing technology is the rapid expansion of the mobile telecommunications system and its potential to reach even remote areas of the world. According to global statistics, there are almost 7 billion mobilecellular subscriptions,106 three-quarters of them in developing countries. This creates a new opportunity for cash transfer using mobile phones. Such was the case of Kenya, where this system was used for the first time.107 Concern World Wide was the first to use mobile phones for bulk cash transfer in early 2008 in response to the Kenyan post-election crisis. This study is an assessment of a mobile money system (MMS) used to transfer cash to refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) based in Gihembe, Rwanda. It is based on document and literature reviews, as well as group discussions held between 5 May and 6 June 2014. Overall more than 100 refugee families, in mixed groups and in another group involving only women heads of households, were involved in the discussions. Interviews with UNHCR and VISA were also held, and WFP and World Vision were represented in the discussions by groups of 3-5 experts working in the pilot. This study does not claim to be complete, but describes the opportunities and challenges as observed at the current stage of the project. We therefore recommend further longitudinal study to be carried out to find out the long-term impacts of the system.