Making Remittances Work: Using Mobile Technology to Direct Remittances Toward Secondary School Fees

Researchers: Claire Adida, Ramesh Rao
Location: Benin

Project Description

mobile-salary-savings-afghanistanThis project aims to address the current obstacles of remittance receipt and distribution by providing a system of direct remittance for secondary school fees. In developing countries, remittances play an important role as an informal insurance scheme for individuals and households. Individuals migrate in search of economic opportunity, and send part of their improved earnings back home. Among other things, remittances have been shown to improve access to public services, provide insurance against income shocks, and increase agricultural productivity.

This project trials the use of mobile technology to allow users to send remittances to secondary schools, rather than individuals, at low cost, and remotely, privately, and directly – to address well documented obstacles that impede remittance flow. The project will be implemented at a high school in Kalalé, northeastern Benin, a district with high poverty rates and an active network of hometown associations across the county whose members are motivated to invest back home.

Expected Results and Policy Implications

On successful completion of the pilot, the PIs intend to scale up the intervention to national – and even cross-national – level where the technology could be adapted for other types of direct transactions. Addressing and resolving the factors that impede optimal levels and use of remittances carries important implications for poverty-alleviation and growth.