Applicant name: YIDA
Applicant type: Private Company
Headquarter City: Kyaka II refugee settlement, Kyegegwa
Headquarter Country: Uganda
Innovation Name: YIDA Finance Services (YFS Finance LTD)
Innovation Type: Service
Category: Top Service Provider
Status of Innovation: In-market
Innovation Active Since: 08/03/2020
Innovation Description: The Innovation aims to extend money remittance services to rural refugees who cannot afford travel costs to access banks in the cities. We partner with Western Union, MoneyGram, and other service providers. We established outlets within the refugee settlements, mostly those in Districts that do not have banking institutions like the Kyegegwa district in Uganda.
What is your competitive advantage? Our venture’s competitive advantage is the location in the hard-to-reach communities by banks. Moreover, the initiative is owned and managed by the affected people(Refugees), therefore, it is more sustainable and consistent in some communities.
Why is your solution best in class? My solution is the best since it is located in districts where banks do not reach. For example, during Covid19 lockdown no one was allowed to move out of the district, and in our district(Kyegegwa) there is no single bank, therefore, families were starving with hunger until we come up with the idea of having YIDA Finance Services within the refugee settlement for refugees to access money remittances for food. And during the Ebola outbreak in Uganda, our district was under quarantine for three months. Our services were supporting even non-refugees to access funds for food from friends and families.
Name one advantage of your solution versus competitors. Our solution is the only initiative in the refugee settlement and even in the entire district. Our competitors are banks that do not prefer putting their business in remote areas that are like refugee villages. Therefore, we aim at serving underprivileged communities, rather than just making huge profits.
Explain your market presence globally and in your strongest market. Our idea is to work with global partners like western union MoneyGram and other companies. Some ideas can be replicated in other countries globally that host refugees in very remote areas.
What was the inspiration for this innovation? The inspiration for this innovation is the children and mothers who struggle to access funds vias banks. They used to travel to banks looking for money remittances from their families abroad and find banks were unable to serve them due to network issues and then incur more transport costs back home without any funds for food school fees and closes. And during the lockdown, the majority of women and children could not get enough food due to a lack of money remittance services in the village hence starvation.
Who can benefit from your innovation most? Refugee Women/mothers and refugee school-going children.
What are you most proud of about your innovation? Am proud that refugee women and children access my services with no transport cost. Refugees can walk from their homes to the service centers for money remittances and save money that could be for transport costs to towns and use it for food.
Why do you think you should win this category? When I win the award my village would have also won because it will not benefit me as a person but I represent the underserved communities mostly refugees in rural Uganda. Additionally, the venture stands as the best service provider since there is no other institution doing the same.
Full Name: James Ntakiruti Gihoma