By JAMES KARIUKI

Social media networks have become harambee platforms where Kenyans raise money for various causes.

While social relations boost the feeling of ‘oneness’, a report named ‘What Can Traditional Giving Teach Digital Fundraising Platforms?’ has found that family, community and other social linkages have been found to make Kenyans contribute more for their needs.

“More money is collected among people who are related as compared to strangers and this presents digital harambee platforms with an avenue to cash in on Kenyans’ ‘oneness’ to boost collections for public good,” says the study conducted in Nairobi’s Kibera area.

The report says social relations, hope of future ‘insurance (reciprocity) and altruism (giving for the sake of giving) have for ages defined Kenyans’ traditional behaviour of giving that digital ‘harambee’ platforms could tap into.

“People contribute funds as a form of informal insurance for the future, expecting the recipient to reciprocate when a need arises. But there are others who give expecting nothing in return,” it adds.

The report commissioned by the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP) observes that Kenyans contribute heartily and generously for funerals, weddings, education and for assisting a friend raise capital to start a business or settler debt.

“Kenya’s long tradition of ‘harambee’ (pulling together) has helped families and communities raise money to meet important needs — medical expenses, funerals and school fees or to raise funds for entrepreneurial activities.

“This is a first step towards designing better digital fundraising solutions that deliver products that meet people’s needs and are actively used,” it said.

Researchers Maria Fernadez (CGAP’s Financial Sector Specialist), Busara Centre for Behavioural Economics Director in-charge of Customer and Provider Solutions Nikhil Ravichandar and her associate Leah Kiwara said charitable giving must go digital if large amounts of money were to be realised for projects that address communal good.

The study which attracted 664 people found that individuals could raise more money via platforms if friends within their circles.

“Recognising the power of shared social identities, M-Changa has enlisted chama members to act as fundraiser patrons. The idea is to leverage the trust and sense of reciprocity within chama networks to increase contributions on the platform,” said the study.

First Published by the Daily Nation

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