Powered by CARE International, Chomoka is a digital recordkeeping application for Savings Groups. Chomoka allows for accurate record keeping and eliminates the need for paper-based ledgers or passbooks. Savings Groups continue to meet in person and run their meetings entirely on the application. Automated calculations allow members flexibility in how to structure their group operations, while digitized records create a financial profile and credit history that may be leveraged to access formal services. Chomoka operates offline and data flows link through SMS, making it accessible in low connectivity settings. At the end of each meeting, members receive confirmation of their transactions through SMS, giving them real time control over their contributions.
The built-in marketplace allows members to compare offerings and engage with formal service providers. Current offerings are limited to banking services through NMB and health micro-insurance through Jambii – additional service providers will be made available as Chomoka expands. Analytics on group demographics and performance can be used by facilitating agencies to monitor groups and identify trends and needs for support, and track project performance.
Central to Chomoka is a trusted network of agents known as Chomoka agents who train and support the groups with the application. Agents need to have a basic understanding of the technology; and they earn a fee from the group for training, as well as a commission for the sale of products and services within the marketplace.
Chomoka was launched in Tanzania in 2017. By the end of 2019, the Chomoka agent network has grown to 39 active agents; and the application is used by 2,525 members (78% women) mostly in rural areas. Several pilots have been conducted to enhance operability consistent with human-centered design principles, yielding an interface that caters to low literacy populations and new technology adapters. In 2020, Chomoka plans to expand to an additional three countries, and spin off to a social enterprise to ensure sustainability beyond the initial period of donor funding.