M-PESA For The Blind – Why Safaricom Is Enabling This Innovation For The Visually Impaired

M-PESA For The Blind - How Safaricom Is Enabling This Innovation For The Visually Impaired

In line with the vision of Transforming lives for everyone in the society, Safaricom has continued to prove that embracing diversity is not just the right thing to do; it’s the smart thing to do. It’s the human resource version of investment.

And here’s the kicker; diversity isn’t just about hiring more women, or people with disabilities or different ethnicities: it’s allowing them to participate in whatever aspect of their lives, it’s making them a part of the change that happens, that’s where society truly thrives.

Last year, Safaricom launched the M-PESA Interactive Voice Response (IVR), a solution designed to protect the dignity of our visually impaired customers.

The service allows them to check balances in their mobile wallets using their voices, therefore reducing reliance on others and safeguarding them against risks associated with sharing of personal information, such as fraud.

M-PESA For The Blind - How Safaricom Is Enabling This Innovation For The Visually ImpairedThey also introduced Jitambulishe, a voice biometrics service, that allows a customer to create a vocal password for easier access to services such as resetting your M-PESA PIN and PUK requests. This cuts down the time you would maybe take to get assistance in remembering your password and also significantly reduces the chances of identity theft and fraud thus ensuring your data always remains safe with you no matter the situation.

Previously, visually impaired customers transacting on the service have had to depend on the assistance of other persons to make transactions. This has exposed them to the risk of being defrauded in the process, and also meant that they sometimes to have reveal their M-PESA PINs to other people.

By accessing M-PESA through an Interactive Voice Response platform, customers can now ascertain their M-PESA balances before and after making transactions.

You can set up Jitambulishe in the following easy steps:

  1. Dial 100 for pre-paid customers and 200 for post-pay customers
  2. Follow instructions to choose your language preference
  3. Enter your ID number followed by #
  4. Create your vocal password.
M-PESA For The Blind - How Safaricom Is Enabling This Innovation For The Visually Impaired
Jonah Simba of Kenya Union of Blind gives his testimonial during the launch of M Pesa Interactive Voice Response and the celebrations of International day of Persons with disabilities at Michael Joseph center last year

One of the beneficiaries, Pastor Jonah Simba from Buruburu hails the new technology and how it has tremendously benefited him since he started using the M-PESA service as a visually impaired customer. He says, “I run IT programs for Kenya Union of the blind that are geared towards empowering as many blind people as we can on IT technology. When I have a basic feature phone, it was an issue for me to withdraw or send money because I have to work with trust, the trust that neither the agent nor my helper would not mislead me.

This new service was long overdue but we are excited about the work that Safaricom has put in to ensure we can transact with independence and without fear of sharing our PINs. We have always known that Safaricom is an innovative company, but through this service, we now know that there is someone who cares about our well being.”

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