The Uganda Communications Commission, through their ACIA Awards, awarded Airtel Uganda the ICT for Development Award for their ground-breaking innovation ‘Airtel Weza’ at the recently concluded ACIA Awards Ceremony.
Established in 2010, the ACIA Awards purport to foster innovation through the recognition and reward of outstanding ICT innovations. They provide a platform upon which outstanding ICT innovations can be showcased and propelled to further success.
The Commission handed over a Cash award of 2,500 USD and an Implementation Grant of USD 7,500 to the Airtel for the category entry “ICT for the rural disadvantaged” where they fronted the ‘Airtel Weza’ Innovation.
Airtel Weza, a ground-breaking innovation done in partnership with Grameen Foundation and Plan Uganda, is a mobile financial solution that permits Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLA) and other savings groups such as investment clubs to store their Group’s cash as mobile money.
Fitted with features such as Group accounts, Record Management & Mini statements as well as Mobile Banking, Airtel Weza guarantees security, accountability, easy auditing and convenience by ensuring that the groups’ money is controlled by 3 elected PIN holders who must approve of any transaction. The innovation also encourages leadership drives by empowering the 3 PIN holders to lead and offer financial advice to their group members, with support from the regional Airtel Sales Executives.
Speaking at the awards ceremony, Mr. Prasoon Lal, Airtel Uganda Marketing Director, talked about Airtel’s keenness to providing a safer and more convenient experience for all their customers-including the savings groups-as the inspiration behind ‘Airtel Weza’.
“We believe mobile phones have rapidly evolved into safe and secure money transfer tools and are increasingly being used to conduct more complex transactions which include settling utility and expense bills. The Airtel Weza service making the savings groups’ processes more secure, efficient and transparent using Airtel money,” Lal said.
Currently, Airtel Weza is being used by 134 Groups with a total number of 4,020 members in the districts of Kamuli, Tororo and Luwero districts and Airtel Uganda plans to extend this innovation to 1,000 groups in order to bring financial inclusion to over 15,000 Ugandans across the country.