Finance for Life

Improving quality of life for low income people through financial solutions
(Photo credit: FSD Kenya 2015, Abraham Ali)

Finance for Life focuses on the impact of finance beyond financial inclusion. Finance for Life actively seeks to embed ways of directly improving quality of life for low income people by expanding financial solutions in areas such as health, education, sanitation, housing, as well as enhancing productivity in agriculture and small business. Finance for Life also measures the impact on living conditions from finance-oriented interventions.

Mercy Corps

AgriFin Accelerate Evaluation

Aiming to transform the lives of 1 million smallholder farmers, especially women and youth, using digital financial services (DFS).

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Financial Sector Deepening Kenya

Flexipay Concept Testing

Concept Testing to explore adoption, scaling and business model

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Finance for Life starts from an understanding of the lives of low income people, not just their financial lives but the aspirations and needs that finance helps them to achieve.


The Finance for Life team works to embed this perspective into other expertise areas of BFA to retain focus on the ultimate end goal — to improve the lives of low income people. As we consider how to improve an existing financial service, we take into account not only the usual factors such as convenience and user experience, but also how it could be designed to tap into new networks, create new knowledge or empower greater comfort with technology. We consider the whole person and not just the financial portfolio when designing an intervention and measuring impact.

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Finance for Life is a strategy that we embed across all of BFA’s work, powered by the belief that though finance may underpin the broad set of challenges that low income people face, it is not the ultimate goal that people want. By offering an integrated set of life solutions that combine finance, payment and information, a broad range of partners can touch and improve the lives of low income people.

Finance for Life also evaluates financial services and the impact they aim to have. As much as possible, BFA applies practical tech-driven methods for experimentation and evaluation to create insights in a lean and continuous way, both in survey design and implementation.

More from Finance for Life

Trust—Is there an app for that?

What if we tracked the trading history—the character—of trading partners rather than the history of assets themselves to reduce risk in the marketplace? On a single platform, we could verify the identities of registered buyers and sellers, conducting further know your customer (KYC) verification on larger scale merchants.

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It takes a village: Lessons from digitizing social school fees payments

Our work on the Kenya Financial Diaries made it painfully clear to us that school fees are incredibly expensive for low income families. The lowest end public schools often ask about KSh 20,000 per year for a single student, when rural household incomes often average around KSh 6,000 per month. Many families are able to make school fee payments by calling on help from family and friends outside the household—older siblings, aunts, uncles, grandparents, spouses working in other cities, and others—to help pay for fees. But this social subsidy solution is imperfect.

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Explore Our Areas Of Expertise

Customer Insights

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Business Insights

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Policy and Ecosystem Development

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Inclusive Fintech

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Updated January 2017