It all began when I was selected to be part of ‘youth saving diaries’ project that was conducted by L-IFT from November 2019 to February 2019 in Nigeria. One of the researchers visited me weekly to ask me questions about my finance and other things. I also got a visit from the Managing Director, Anne Marie, during the project at my shop. That was a very nice experience for me, and it made me feel good to be listened to as a young trader who is thriving to grow.
After the project ended, I was approached by Mrs. Cynthia Othibor, to be part of an experiment on the FINBIT app by L-IFT. Once she explained the details to me, I was very excited about it and I liked the whole idea. I was being recruited on “phone loan” which gives me even more reason to be part of it as I really needed a phone at the time. Besides, I was quite familiar with L-IFT already and it seems like a good fit.
[Phone Loan Contract means that the data volunteer receives from L-IFT a good quality smartphone with a relatively large screen. The data volunteer gradually pays off the phone loan through the interview work. It takes between 6 to 8 months to pay off the phone, depending on the number of reporting people the data volunteer can facilitate report. After the phone is paid off, the data volunteer starts to receive income from their Finbit facilitation work.]
I have 19 respondents now and my respondents are also traders like me in the market. It has been relatively easy to convince respondents to be part of the experiment with one reason being: most of them saw Anne Marie’s visit to my shop. This visit made them believe that this is a genuine program. Also, when I showed them the Finbit app and explained to them what the app does, they liked it.
My experience working as a data volunteer has been good so far as most of my respondents at the market are enjoying the app and I have also learned the importance of saving and good management of my money. Some of my respondents are not really used to using apps and this experiment would be the first for them, so they are always happy to learn how to manage and keep account of their finances with the app. I have been having issues fulfilling the number of respondents, but I am hopeful that I will reach my target. Sometimes I have some issues using the app and filling data, but I get help from the researchers and the supervisor anytime.
In the future, I hope that after this experiment, my respondents and I would be eligible for loans and employment through the app to improve our businesses.