SIA supported Overseas Development Institute and their clients UNDP and UN OCHA in the development of a guidance toolkit for affiliated networks of the Connected Business Initiative (CBi). CBi is is a demand driven multi-stakeholder initiative transforming the way the private sector engages before, during and after crises to create more resilient communities, increase local capacity and alleviate human suffering. CBi has thirteen private sector country networks up all around the world. While much of the early focus of these CBi networks has been on coordinating private sector's role in humanitarian action as a result of natural disasters, there is need for these networks to also understand how they can support the private sector during complex disasters. The guidance toolkit will provide tools for these networks to use when supporting private sector engagement with man-made and complex humanitarian emergencies.


SIA designed and implemented a four-week online course concerning digital financial and non-financial solutions for smallholder farmers in developing economies for the Digital Frontiers Institute. SIA will facilitate two iterations of the online course in 2018. The course focuses on new digital tools being used both directly by farmers or by value chain stakeholders working with farmers, and how those tools are helping to improve incoming and outgoing information flows around farmers. The course examines how these digital tools are helping to expand the digital footprint of farmers around the world, and how that larger digital footprint is enabling broader types of financial and agricultural service providers to sustainably serve the smallholder household.


As part of its work on gender and women's economic empowerment, SIA authored for NetHope/USAID a paper on the role of trust in technology adoption, which has been identified as one of the key enablers to women’s active use of digital financial services. The paper is forthcoming but a webinar on its contents and discussion with USAID and CGAP Women's Financial Inclusion Community of Practice is below. 


SIA is leading the technical design and content development for a private sector-facing handbook focused on digtial financial services (DFS) offerings in the agriculture sector. The handbook combines primary and secondary research as well as csae studies to better acquaint existing IFC clients in financial services, insurance, or agribusiness with key concepts around developing a DFS offering for rural customer segments, especially smallholder farmers. The handbook will be drafted with a "commercial reader" in mind, someone employed with a bank or private enterprise looking for concise descriptions, practical tools, and market-based examples. The handbook is intended to support this person to make more informed and efficient decisions around planning/strategy, research, analysis, as well as product design and development.

gender and women's empowerment work stream

SIA supports USAID in its analysis of the roles of DFS as a tool for women's economic empowerment. This included a multi-stakeholder convening held in June 2016 that brought together donors including The Gates Foundation, USAID and UNCDF, practitioners including OxFam, Women for Women International, and researchers including Professors Sibel Kusimba of American University and Billy Jacks of Georgetown University. The work also includes commissioning of social network analysis research on the use of mobile money by women in Bangladesh in collaboration with mSTAR and participation in the Women's Financial Inclusion Community of Practice by CGAP.

Visa Innovations Grant Management

Created and managed the process for two rounds of grants awarded by NetHope and funded by Visa to support the innovative use of e-payments. In the first round, five grants were awarded of $100K each across sectors including agriculture value chains, emergency response and health care payments. In round 2, 2 larger grants of $250K were awarded for health care and a customized loan product for an MFI targeting farmers. The findings were shared in an report published by NetHope.

Global Humanitarian Sector Portfolio Integration

From 2015-2016, SIA worked with OFDA, FFP and DFS teams from USAID to think through how USAID humanitarian programs can better influence the use of DFS within cash transfer programming. The work focused on four objectives: 1) developing the Barcelona Principles to help guide smarter, more responsible usage of digital payments in cash transfer programming; 2) analysis of DFS access point mapping activities throughout the world; 3) capacity building materials; and 4) pushing out a grant that funded organizational preparedness for digital cash transfers.

Global Technical Assistance for Digital Financial Services

Since 2013, SIA has provided technical staffing support for NetHope/USAID Global Broadband and Innovations Alliance’s digital financial services to promote the transition globally from cash to digital payments. Work includes outreach and training of USAID implementing partners on how to use digital payments and encourage market development in countries where USAID has a presence; support for knowledge sharing with USAID mission staff on DFS; and collaboration with USAID programs to promote DFS in humanitarian assistance.

mobile money market viability tool

SIA developed a tool that helps give a high level evaluation and score (as compared to other countries in the tool) around the market's digital payments readiness. The tool includes all countries USAID operates in, and gives rankings that point to how developed or undeveloped key digital payments indicators are in each country. Conducted benchmarking and desk research on other tools that have been created to measure market readiness around digital payments. Developed the methodology and set of key indicators that will be used with the tool. Developed the tool, using Z-scores and weighted P Values to determine the scoring for each country per group of indicators (i.e. financial sector, mobile infrastructure).

Transition from Cash to Electronic Payments Toolkit for Development Organizations

SIA developed a toolkit for development organizations outlining a 10-step process for making informed decisions on where, when and how to adopt digital payments within program and operational payment streams. The toolkit covers three sections: 1) Introduction and key definitions of digital financial services (DFS) 2) Internal organizational analysis and readines, and external analysis of a DFS market including vetting payment service providers 3) Implementation including staff and recipient training and scaling up. The toolkit provides practical guidance, case examples, and accompanying tools and templates.

Market Research on Development Organizations as Customers of Mobile Money Bulk Payments

SIA conducted qualitative and quantitative research on NGOs as a customer segment for mobile money bulk payments to present to service providers as a market opportunity and advocate for improvement of key features in mobile money bulk payment products and services. Developed quantitative online survey and interviewed NGOs and technical advisors to NGOs on their experience adopting digital payments, and needs and preferences for mobile money bulk payments. Also includes analysis on the value of NGOs as a potential market segment opportunity.

Cash Preparedness Grant management

On behalf of USAID's Global Development Lab, SIA co-lead the design and award evaluation process of a grant vehicle intended to support institutional preparedness among AID implementing organizations that manage cash transfer programs in a humanitarian assistance context. SIA's role was to management the RFP drafting, proposal collection, and scoring process. Post-award, SIA will provide overall program management and supervision support against established delivery milestones and provide discrete techncial assistance to grantees as the need arises