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Powering inclusive technologies: Good Food Hub helps serve digitally excluded rural communities

Stella Odhiambo

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Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are quiet revolutionaries that nourish families, improve equity in their communities, and innovate for sustainability and health.

Wasafiri launched the Good Food Hub in 2021 for pioneering entrepreneurs to access support, meet peers, and advocate for a more conducive business ecosystem. Since then, the hub has continued to include the voice of food SMEs in the global policy space in various ways.

Among them, the Hub has hosted a series of dialogues with five UN Food Systems Summit coalitions, asking how they can each integrate and support the transformative potential of pioneering small businesses, collaborated with SAFIN, IFC and IFAD to ensure financial service providers and policy experts hear from food entrepreneurs amidst the growing Ukraine crisis, and together with HarvestPlus, has provided opportunities to entrepreneurs to procure and market nutrient-enriched grains and other staples to their customers.

Recently, the Good Food Hub provided a valuable platform for Mastercard to engage directly with Good Food entrepreneurs who use digital technology to work with farmers, supply chain partners, or consumers. The learning event introduced a tool to help entrepreneurs expand their access and reach to remote communities with limited connectivity, reduce costs, and realise new revenue opportunities.

Mastercard has recently developed technical solutions for serving digitally excluded individuals, especially for rural communities in Africa and South Asia. They’ve discovered that the same four common components are required for such services.

They have moved these components into a single platform called Community Pass. It offers a shared, interoperable infrastructure for any service providers seeking to build applications. These components are:

  1. Functional Identity (Inclusive Identity Service): Everyone on the Community Pass platform has a singular identity that simplifies their access to multiple services.
  2. Digital Acceptance Devices (Point of Interaction Service): An Android-based device that enables programme and service delivery of multiple Community Pass programmes, while supporting third-party solutions and digital payment methods through standard or biometric-based authentication
  3. Shared Wallets (Multi-Wallet Service): One chip card that allows offline access to multiple services and products – making digital account issuance possible and enabling a seamless and cost-effective transition to traditional financial products.
  4. Secure & Protected Data (Data Services): Access to data that is otherwise difficult to attain across geographies and use cases, for impact and more effective service delivery.

How might entrepreneurs benefit from Community Pass?

CK Japheth, Co-Founder of The Innovation Village noted how powerful it was for his Ugandan entrepreneurs to enter into partnership with a global company like Mastercard. The Community Pass platform provides a plug n’ play digital foundation upon which they can build their applications, whilst the brand association gives them increased credibility with users, investors and local partners.

Community Pass also allows entrepreneurs to pursue a significant scale. For example, instead of having to build an agent network in rural areas, an entrepreneur can quickly access all the digital agents already using the platform.

This opportunity linked Mastercard with entrepreneurs who are already doing inspiring work with smallholder farmers. The entrepreneurs articulated how Community Pass might help them overcome diverse pain points such as data management and dependability, financial payments, farmer registration, digital literacy, supply chain transparency, and bank integration.

To watch the event and access further information about Community Pass, go to the Good Food Hub.

Do you want to reach pioneering food entrepreneurs?

If your organisation also wants to support SMEs to scale, innovate, or advocate as they pioneer better food for all, then please join us at the Good Food Hub or get in touch at hub@goodfood.business to explore how we might work together.

Read more about the Good Food Hub

Photo by Pixabay

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