A smartphone is the primary means to access internet and become digitally included in Africa. Through us, female entrepreneurs in Africa get a chance to lease a refurbished smartphone at an affordable price. They will have access to internet, which is important to their businesses, families, and communities regarding education, health, and nutrition.
In the rural areas people work mostly in the informal sector, where social security in the Western sense is non-existent. Security is provided by local communities of practice, where each member contributes a small amount of money on a weekly or monthly basis in favor of the well-being of the community. The system is built on trust and a sense of collective, communal values inherent in many African cultures. In difficult times, these communities of practice help their members financially as well as by offering emotional support. They also provide small loans, without huge interests often linked to international micro loan providers.
As we want to have a concrete impact on the lives of the community members while making sure we remain efficient and culturally sensitive, we have partnered with these lending circles. We send the donated phones to the leaders of the lending circles, who in turn take care of the leasing process. The customers are carefully selected and go through a rigorous screening process. In order to lease a Smartphone4Good, the women have to have a concrete plan about how she will use it in her business as well as how she will pay the monthly fee.