Technology service provider
VSLA.online is a digital platform that strengthens savings groups and connects them with the wider financial ecosystem. Through a smartphone application managed by the group secretary, the group can record all of their membership activity and financial transactions in a safe and secure way, backed with blockchain technology to provide a trusted, shareable track record of the group’s finances. Group members receive SMS receipts of their transactions and are able to view historical records via the secretary’s application.
In Zambia, digital savings groups have nearly doubled in average size due to the demonstrable benefits of VSLA.online, including enhanced transparency. The solution has also reduced the cost of operations, monitoring, and evaluation for non-governmental organizations (NGOs), increasing staff efficiency and cutting travel costs by around 30 percent.
HOW IT WORKS
Hiveonline is committed to making VSLA.online as accessible to rural communities as possible — with offline capabilities, low data usage, and a minimum requirement of only one device per group. As with any digital product in rural areas, limited mobile connectivity and low digital literacy are two challenges that some groups have experienced, and the product team is always working to overcome these constraints.
Institutional users can monitor and support groups in a data-driven, responsive way. Dashboards track the financial health of groups and program impact metrics. All data is managed in compliance with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) principles and shared only with explicit permission of the group.
The VSLA.online solution leverages the hiveonline platform to bring savings groups into the formal financial ecosystem. Groups can also use mycoop.online web application to manage their commercial activities and connect with wider markets to sell their produce or products. And humanitarian organizations can manage electronic vouchers through the platform, delivering targeted support to communities in a cheaper and more transparent way.
Over the next year, hiveonline will introduce mobile money to the platform, enabling digital payments internally (within groups) and externally (with partners). The introduction of electronic money and payments will create opportunities for groups to participate in the digital economy and access a wider range of financial services, including credit, asset finance, and insurance. Hiveonline aims to minimize the costs incurred by groups. Instead of licensing fees, the DSG provider generates revenue from financial and analytics services. This results in a sustainable business model that does not require donor funding.