The savings group sector spends an amazing amount of time recording, collecting, verifying, consolidating, reporting and analysing data. It starts at the group level with passbooks or ledgers, and while groups learn to record savings quickly, tracking loans and calculating share-outs are much more difficult. In fact, these transactions are often beyond the capacity of groups and lead to indefinite visits from trainers.
FSD Kenya with a software development firm Software Group are in the process of developing a mobile app - provisionally called e-Recording - that hopefully will enable groups to leave the trail of tears for good. The app, which runs on Android phones, initially leads a group through a set-up process, during which the group records the names and group numbers of all members, names the officials, and specifies who is authorized to enter data into the app. It also guides the group in writing those parts of the constitution that have to do with financial transactions – things like the interest rates on loans, how much each member can borrow in relation to her savings, loan periods, penalties, and similar details for the savings and social funds. Once the group records are set up, the group record keeper uses the app to record attendance, fines, and every other financial transaction. The app is flexible enough to allow for the various ways that groups treat early withdrawal of savings, fines, different uses of the social fund, and transfers into and from an external bank account.