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Safaricom Launches M-PESA Services for the Visually Impaired

 

Written by: Peter Okeyo, inABLE Program Manager

On December 4th, an inABLE team of nine blind individuals and staff members had the honor of celebrating World Disability Day at the Safaricom headquarters.  Safaricom LTD, the leading mobile network and mobile money transfer services provider in Kenya, celebrated the day by demonstrating socially responsible leadership through inclusion of persons with disability in both their workforce and products/services.

While in most highly developed countries, inclusion of people with disabilities is an expectation; the reality is, that there are still product developers and service providers who overlook persons living with disability. At Safaricom this is not the case.

For example, computer technology has completely made the world a global village and has even brought a mobile phone-based money transfer services (M-PESA) into our hands. However, this money transfer platform, which required sight, left people with visual impairments without private access. This oversight took away their privacy and security, because personal identification number (PIN) codes were no longer secret.

Thanks to Safaricom’s inclusive values this problem has been resolved. Last August, Safaricom, in collaboration with inABLE, conducted a focus group. Totally blind individuals who utilized accessibility products and services were invited to participate. A voice prompt idea emerged.  Today, Safaricom has released a voice prompt technology that enables the blind to securely access its M-PESA payment services

Safaricom has been a long-term partner to inABLE and a champion of our mission to bring fully accessible product and services to disabled people. Everyone at inABLE.org feels immense pride for our role in the launch of this inclusive M-PESA payment service.