Tag Archives: Mobile Technology

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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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.
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Meseret’s Story

By, Courtenay Cabot Venton, One Hen’s Director of International Programs



I meet Meseret in a town in Ethiopia called Nazareth. We are sitting in a small room, rain falling on the tin roof. As she speaks, I know that her story is one that will stay with me forever.


Conflicting emotions accompany me to Ethiopia. On the one hand, my excitement is uncontainable. Meseret is a member of a Self Help Group (SHG) program. The SHG approach is recent and has been transformative, literally eradicating extreme poverty from the inside out. It is the first approach, in 15 years of field work that I feel could change the face of poverty within our generation.


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Adaptability: Key to a Realized Vision

By, Helen Rosenfeld, One Hen’s Executive Director

We have truly realized our original vision and officially ‘gone global’ this year.

This blog is our way of sharing the journey with you and highlighting inspiring stories of youth and educators’ success and learnings in their social entrepreneurship adventures around the world.


One Hen, Inc. evolved from Katie Smith Milway’s wonderful book, One Hen: How One Small Loan Made a Big Difference, which teaches children about the power of microfinance and how a boy named Kojo used ‘one small loan’ to create change in the world. One Hen, Inc. follows the narrative arc of that book to show kids how they can take very little and make something big happen. The book’s internationally relevant story is inspiring young people around the world to take social action using entrepreneurship as their tool.

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