A major gap in the ability of formal financial services to deliver value for low-income families is a general lack of information and understanding of their preferences, behaviours and needs. To address this gap, FSD Kenya in partnership with Bankable Frontier Associates and Digital Divide Data undertook a Financial Diaries study between 2012 and 2013. The Kenya Financial Diaries tracked the cash flows of 298 low-income Kenyan households over a period of one year, with over half a million transactions recorded during this time. By observing people’s financial behaviour, the study provided a picture of how people deploy financial resources to open opportunities for themselves and to cushion themselves from the blows of shocks. In many households, stories of money problems and money solutions unfolded in great detail, helping us to understand the connections between financial services and poverty in much more detailed ways.
Since the original study was completed in 2013, several publications have been developed and a two-year follow-up study involving in-depth interviews with all of the original participating households is currently underway. The objective of the follow up is to understand how financial devices are deployed in the face of changing financial needs, the key factors that are influencing poverty trajectories and how new products and technologies get incorporated into household portfolios and how that shifts the way people invest and manage risk.
The reports, case studies, blogs and datasets developed (or in development) from the Kenya Financial Diaries study are listed below.