Awaaz.De is pleased to announce it is a recipient of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation 15th Round Grand Challenges Exploration award. The 59 winners from 16 countries were selected in a blinded and champion-based review process from an applicant pool of over 1,100 applicants from 91 countries. The awarded projects were selected for their creative and innovative approach and clear relevance to the challenge.

Awaaz.De (“give voice”) will produce interactive podcasts that are sent by mobile phone to inform local users in India on relevant financial services and to collect their feedback on specific issues in audio form, making it more widely accessible. The feedback will be used to monitor financial habits, and help identify barriers to usage and ways to improve services. The interactive podcast platform can also be supplemented with optional features such as balance inquiries or loan repayment reminders. Awaaz.De will tailor the technology, and work with Saath, a microfinance institution in Ahmedabad, India, as well as Drishti, a media nonprofit, to pilot test the podcasts and collect data in urban areas of the city.

Through this project, Awaaz.De hopes to determine whether the delivery of info-tainment over mobile phones can be a compelling channel for data collection, especially in the financial services sector. We look forward to sharing updates and results with you as we begin to broadcast the audio episodes to Saath clients across Ahmadabad.

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