M-Changa, a new SMS-based crowdfunding platform, has been launched in Kenya expected to enable “individuals who are fundraising to raise more money, from more people, in a faster, more efficient and more transparent way than ever before”.
The developers said they have been in closed testing and have now decided that the platform is ready for use by the public.
Kyai Mullei, Founder and CEO of M-Changa said: “We founded M-Changa in January 2012 to create a product that successfully marries two distinct traits of Kenyan society, our culture of fundraising, and the Kenyan people’s comfort when it comes to use of mobile money.”
The practice of “Changa”, fundraising, in Kenya has been around for many centuries with individuals and groups raising funds for a variety of expenses, ranging from family-related expenses to uplift community projects. M-Changa hopes to take this traditional form of crowdfunding and automate it using SMS technology.
M-Changa allows users to initiate fundraising campaigns and send customised fundraising campaign messages via mobile phone to unlimited numbers of contributors.
Mullei believes their service will be more appealing to the public compared to the more traditional methods of fundraising. He explained that by using mobile technologies the barrier to contributing to the everyday causes all of us care about is significantly lowered.
It is hoped that the service will become Kenya’s newest revolutionary SMS-based product after the runaway success of M-Pesa.
Experts say it is highly possible that M-Changa will prove to be popular in Kenya considering that, according to the Central Bank of Kenya, mobile money transactions account for more than 60 percent of the East African country’s GDP, showing how accustomed the public has become to mobile money.
“By the end of 2013, M-Changa will be the go-to mobile service for short-term and sustained long-term fundraising drives in East Africa. By 2014 we expect to have rolled out to all African markets with a high penetration of mobile money,” Mullei said. “M-Changa will put transparency at the forefront of African Fundraising through the game-changing power of mobile.”
One contentious point remains to be seen though, whether M-Changa transactions would be taxed too following recent proposals by Kenya’s treasury department the Ministry of Finance to tax mobile money transactions.