Mobile Money in Uganda

Identify customer needs and promising innovations that can increase digital financial services adoption, while building a path forward for key actors in the system to own those solutions.

KCL + IDEO.ORG partnered with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (Gates Foundation) to increase uptake and use of digital financial services (DFS) in Tanzania and Uganda. This particular stream of work explored why digital financial services have not been adopted by those who need them most in Tanzania and Uganda by using various methods to identify customer needs and promising innovations that can increase digital financial services adoption, while building a path forward for key actors in the system to own those solutions.


This project involved conducting two nationally representative in-person surveys for IDEO.ORG, each with approximately 1500 respondents across Uganda. The purpose of the first survey was to understand fundamental challenges surrounding Digital Financial Services (DFS) and covered a range of key questions about mobile money, specifically with an emphasis on people’s financial behaviours and attitudes, their current mobile-money experience, where people perceive value, how people interact with mobile technology & in-person services as well as their perceptions around banks & financial services

The purpose of the second survey was to understand reactions to prototypes. Both surveys were used to validate learnings from’s field research and prototypes with a nationally representative sample.


KCL conducted secondary research and come up with a multi-stage stratified sample design, working with the Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) to derive a nationally representative sample from the national census sample frame for the recently concluded population census to underpin the survey data collection. The team designed and pilot-tested a survey questionnaire aimed at individual respondents who had to be 15 years or older to participate. KCL recruited and trained four field teams each consisting of one supervisor and 4 enumerators who were dispatched to different locations. The country was divided into 4 operational zones—central, eastern, northern and western based on language and logistical efficiency.

We deployed an Open Data Kit (ODK) platform, a free and open source platform for collecting data accurately, quickly, offline and at scale using mobile phones and tablets. Each enumerator was equipped with a 7” android tablet to facilitate electronic capture of interviewee responses. Each team was equipped with a generator and a 12-socket extension dock that could be used to recharge the tablets in areas that had no power.


The weighted sample had rural and female bias, reflecting the national population. The data was analysed in terms of mobile money registration, user proficiency in completing mobile money transactions, financial behaviours and attitudes and mobile money agent dynamics as well as comparing use of mobile money and formal financial institutions. Most respondents were below 34 years old and across the whole population of potential users (15+), awareness of mobile money is quite high, although registration and use still lags.

Having synthesised the results, the team identified opportunities that the partners could leverage to inform the design of improved digital-financial services and experiences.

KCL also provided with Field Research Logistics to support qualitative fieldwork in Uganda. This included activities like research planning, recruiting research participants, scheduling research interviews, recruiting and hiring translators, recruiting and hiring drivers, and providing additional support to the research team in the field. 

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