Using the Gender Lens on Digital Financial Services

(Photo Credit: Francis Minien)

This past summer, Bankers without Borders®, Grameen Foundation’s volunteer initiative, engaged a team of seven employees from Capco, to research the needs, opportunities, and barriers that may inhibit poor women from using digital financial services and understand how organizations - microfinance institutions, banks, MNOs, or other digital financial providers - could deliver services tailored specifically for women.

Gracie Hollis, one of the volunteer leads on the project, jumped at the opportunity to volunteer. Gracie first learned about Grameen Foundation while her studies at the University of Virginia. This ignited her interest in microfinance, specifically as a financial tool for women empowerment. Now as a financial services consultant with Capco, Gracie worked as a business analyst and program manager on a large scale technology platform implementation. Gracie noted: "I was thrilled to be part of a team researching solutions for the digital gender divide, which was personally meaningful for me as I am passionate about women's economic development. Especi​ally cool was Bankers without Borders’ thoughtful and deliberate alignment with our team and firm’s pledge for parity following International Women's Day.


Zach Garman, a program manager and business analyst at Capco, was another volunteer on the project. Zach was introduced to Grameen Foundation through Gracie’s enthusiasm about microfinance. Zach identified with the foundation's unique approach to alleviating poverty, empowering the world's poor to reach their potential, and was excited to use his professional skills from the financial services industry to projects that directly impacted the poor. "Bankers without Borders served as a refreshing alternative to the day-to-day, allowing me to apply professional skills in areas and markets I would have otherwise overlooked. Professionally, this project changed my perspective on potential areas of long-term growth and investment for our firm."

The research that the team volunteers conducted will be used to support the development of future programs that address poor women through digital financial services solutions at Grameen Foundation. Lisa Kienzle, Grameen Foundation’s Global Director of Financial Services noted: "I was very impressed with the services provided by the Capco team.  The consultants were sharp, collaborative, and committed to this engagement.  I was impressed with their professional approach and their genuine interest in pushing our understanding of the topic.  Grameen Foundation is thrilled to have had their support through this engagement in furthering our mission of serving poor women with digital financial services solutions!"

In commemoration of Pro Bono Week, the BwB team would like to send a  BIG SHOUT OUT to the Capco team for their invaluable research and insights!!