Project Year



East Africa



Project Description

In recent years, there has been increased interest in access to formal financial services by the bottom-of-the-pyramid (BOP) in developing countries. Today, there are six competing mobile money transfer systems in Kenya (“M-Pesa,” “yuCash,” “Orange Money”, “Airtel money,” “PesaPoint” and “PataCash”), each of which offers subscribers SIM card registrations and subscriptions to mobile money transfer systems. Thereafter, subscribers access electronic money remittances, payments, micro-credits, insurances, savings accounts, and loan facilities. These products are key instruments in the empowered of the poor as they become exposed to branchless banking in their daily lives. In Kenya, however, very few studies have addressed the inter-linkages between gender empowerment and financial inclusion in banking institutions. This is in spite of the fact that mobile money systems are technologies, which embody gender differences as well as socio-cultural constructs like gender empowerment. This study will examine the gender dimension of mobile money systems, exploring how mobile money systems can give one gender preferential access and empowerment to financial intermediation at the expense of the other.


Simiyu Wandibba, Stevie Nangendo, Benson Mulemi

About the Researcher(s)

Dr. Simiyu Wandibba is Professor of Anthropology at the Institute of Anthropology, Gender and African Studies, University of Nairobi. He holds a BA with Education and an MA from the University of Nairobi and a PhD from the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom. His research and teaching interests are in ethnography, gender and development, heritage management, history of anthropology, social science research methods, and the archaeology of living peoples.

Dr. Stevie M. Nangendo is a Senior Research Fellow, Institute of Anthropology, Gender and African Studies, University of Nairobi. He holds a BA from the University of Nairobi as well as an MA and PhD from Bryn Maw College, Philadelphia, USA. His research and teaching interests are contemporary indigenous technologies, gender and development, commercial farming, food and nutrition security, health and gerontocracy, symbolic anthropology, contemporary theories and research methods in anthropology.

Dr. Benson A. Mulemi holds PhD and MA degrees in anthropology from the University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands and the University of Nairobi, Kenya, respectively. Dr. Mulemi also hold a BA degree in Anthropology (his major) and Kiswahili language from Moi University, Kenya. He is a senior lecturer in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the Catholic University of Eastern Africa. His research interests are ethnographies of minority health, wellbeing and livelihoods, culture and socio-economic development, and hospital ethnography.

Synopsis of Research Results

1. Read their report, "Gender Empowerment and Access to Financial Services in Machakos County, Eastern Kenya".

2. Read their blog post. 


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