Tag Archives: Microfinance

Scaling Up our DIY Self-Help Group App with Partners in East Africa

By Elie Calhoun, Code Innovation

This article originally appeared on CODE Innovation’s website at: http://codeinnovation.com/2015/11/scaling-up-our-diy-savings-and-credit-group-app-with-partners-in-east-africa/


Savings and Credit Group using our open source app in Kongwa District, Dodoma Region, Tanzania (One Hen/Jessica Charles)


In early 2015, Code Innovation and our partners at One Hen Inc. visited the implementing partners for our Self-Help Group app in Ethiopia and Tanzania. After a successful pilot in 2014, our plan was to scale up the use of the app by 1000% focusing on new users in food insecure areas of both countries.


We met with partners at Tearfund Ethiopia and with Tearfund Tanzania‘s local NGO implementers, the Christian Council of Tanzania (CCT) to decide on a viable plan for multiplying our impact and rolling out a new-and-improved iteration with content that we estimated would last for about six months worth of weekly Selp-Help Group meetings. According to our previous coordinator, during our 2014 pilot in Ethiopia this was about the time it took for new groups to raise enough capital and develop enough business acumen and group momentum to begin to give their first loans.

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What Transformation in Aid and Development Really Looks Like



Over the years I’ve frequently been a source of amusement to my wife Emma, but rarely more so than when I came home from work at DfiD one day a decade ago and recounted to her a particularly mortifying interaction I’d had with the IT department. My computer had gone on the fritz during a password update, and in order to resolve it I’d had to tell the tech support guys my old password over the phone – while a senior official was in the room. Imagine my joy as I had to Continue reading What Transformation in Aid and Development Really Looks Like

Part 2: Elementary Entrepreneurs Receive their First Loan

By,  Dr. Annie Whitlock



You could hear a pin drop in Kim’s fifth-grade classroom as her students signed their names in careful cursive onto their loan repayment contracts. They were getting ready to borrow $10 for each table group to start a small business and had just calculated that they would need to pay back this loan with 10% interest ($11 total). Their silence reflected awareness of the responsibility of taking out a loan as well as their apprehension about repayment.


Kim’s class began the One Hen Academy curriculum with an introduction to microfinance by reading One Hen: How one small loan made a big difference by Katie Smith-Milway. In this book, the main character, Kojo, uses a small loan to purchase a hen and then sells the eggs his hen lays and uses that money to buy more hens. Slowly, over many years, Kojo uses his hens and a bank loan to build a prosperous chicken farm. In addition to providing eggs to his community, Kojo also provides employment opportunities and loans money to villagers who wanted to start their own businesses.


Continue reading Part 2: Elementary Entrepreneurs Receive their First Loan

1 Hen in 2 Minutes


What is “One Hen”? Why a hen? What does the organization do? Where does it work? What is its vision? Mission? Impact?  You can find the answers to these questions and more in One Hen’s new infographic video!


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Technology for Development: Shifting the Status Quo in Africa

By, Courtenay Cabot Venton, International Development Economist and One Hen’s Director of Intentional Programs, and Elie Calhoun, ICT4D specialist, Director of Code Innovation




International aid is often criticized for being slow and inefficient. Countries and organizations pour their money into development projects that are often difficult to scale. They succeed in one community or country and then require massive investment to replicate their success in new places — almost like starting from scratch.


Technology is increasingly being used to push back against the status quo to create newer, faster and better ways of doing things. Technology has the potential to radically transform aid by putting access to information and tools directly in the hands of the poor and giving them the power to improve their own lives. It’s not about new technology as much as it is about using innovative approaches to get the solutions we already have to where they’re needed most — to the poorest, most vulnerable communities in the world.


Access to mobile technology is transforming our ability to reach the poorest of the poor. In 2013, nearly two-thirds of households in 23 sub-Saharan Africa nations had at least one mobile phone, and these figures are growing rapidly.
Continue reading Technology for Development: Shifting the Status Quo in Africa