India’s last-mile delivery of financial services is hindered by the digital and gender divide, posing significant challenges. While basic access to financial services has been achieved, there remains a disparity in the usage and quality of these services, especially among low-income and vulnerable groups. A critical factor in ensuring sustainable usage and maintaining service quality is the role of Business Correspondent (BC) agents. However, the gender gap in BC agents delivering affordable financial services is a pressing concern. To enhance their viability and bridge the gender gap, Grameen Foundation USA and Grameen Foundation India, supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, launched the BCNM Experiments & Demonstrating Scale (BEADS) project.
About BEADS project
The project was implemented between Sep 2020 to March 2023 with the aim to address challenges faced by all stakeholders, e.g., the BCs, the BC customers, and the BCNMs, with the following objectives:
- Drive informed pilots with established BCNMs to test more cost-effective, agile, and inclusive ways of selecting, recruiting, and training BCs.
- Improve the viability of individual agents by testing various approaches to diversifying and increasing revenue.
With a focus on addressing the challenges BC agents face, especially women, and leveraging the insights gained from the baseline study, three pilots, in collaboration with six partners, were conducted as part of the action research.
Findings from the Endline Study
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