In December 2012 I traveled to Afghanistan with fellow frogs Jan Chipchase and Cara Silver to study the intersection of mobile technology and consumer banking. We were there to study financial services and access in a country where only 9 percent of people use financial institutions but 65 percent own a mobile phone. Today we're releasing the full report of our findings, entitled "In the Hands of God: A Study of Risk and Savings in Afghanistan." Download the PDF here.
The Afghanistan work is particularly compelling because in addition to helping us understand the potential of mobile money, it un-earthed unique insights about people's attitudes toward risk and reward. We spent time in both Kabul and Herat, interviewing Afghan individuals and families in variety of locales: their homes, the Hawala (money) market, mobile phone stores, insurance providers, neighborhood bakeries, wedding halls, and groceries. In every interview we saw the imprint of a society facing profound political and personal challenges.
Design research is a critical and proud part of frog's offering; Just this year we have conducted research programs across Africa, India, the Middle East, China, Japan, Korea, Europe, U.S., South America, and yes, Afghanistan. We bring these insights from the field into our strategy, design, and engineering work to make our work much richer and more effective.
I invite you to check out the report to read about this beautiful and complex people.
We've also added a complete photo set to our Flickr site under a Creative Commons license. We welcome any comments or questions you might have about the research insights and the photos.