March 25, 2024

Scaling Women’s Economic Development Through Chat: Announces the Six organisations selected for the Chat for Women’s Livelihoods Accelerator

Six organisations working in women’s economic development have been selected for the Chat for Women’s Livelihood (CWL) Accelerator, led by with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Chosen from over 300 applications, the selected organisations are based in Pakistan, Nigeria, India and Kenya. All six organisations work to enhance women’s economic skills, market access, income-generating opportunities and access to services, and all have identified chat solutions as an important way to scale their services and accelerate their impact.

Guided by the team at, the 18-month CWL Accelerator will see organisations learn how to leverage innovative chat technology, data analytics, community learning, AI and large language models (LLMs). This will be used to design and develop an impactful chat service on WhatsApp that will scale and enhance learning, translating into direct livelihood income increases for women.

The final 2024 Chat for Women’s Livelihood (CWL) Accelerator cohort are Circle Women (Pakistan), Clafiya (Nigeria), Frontier Markets (India), Karya (India), Sauti (Kenya), and Tech HERfrica (Nigeria)

“We warmly welcome this exceptional cohort of six organisations,” said Pippa Yeats, Co-Founder of “We believe chat will play a pivotal role in the future of how these organisations will deliver impact. We look forward to an exciting journey ahead, where we can use chat to scale their initiatives, giving more women the skills and tools to increase their incomes.”

“We believe chat will play a pivotal role in the future of how these organisations will deliver impact. We look forward to an exciting journey ahead, where we can use chat to scale their initiatives, giving more women the skills and tools to increase their incomes.” Pippa Yeats, Co-Founder of

Circle Women | Pakistan

In Pakistan, low-income women face severe gender disparities in education, economic participation and financial inclusion, as evidenced by the country's low ranking on the Global Gender Gap Index. The underrepresentation of women in the formal workforce, limited access to digital tools and financial services, lack of confidence, access to networks and mentorship, and lack of business acumen and vocational training contribute to their exclusion from economic opportunities. CIRCLE aims to impact 1 million low-income women across Pakistan, enabling digital literacy, financial literacy, work readiness, and entrepreneurial skills. Since 2018, CIRCLE has directly trained 15,000+ low-income women all over Pakistan and 5,000 through a network of Digital Agents and 3000+ micro businesses started by alumni. 

CIRCLE aims to create a first-of-its-kind WhatsApp chatbot in Pakistan to scale the reach of its Digital Literacy Program. The chatbot, named Baji (older sister in Urdu), will offer a free, personalised learning solution, addressing the challenges faced by women in low-income communities.

Clafiya | Nigeria

Clafiya is a digital health platform changing how individuals, families and businesses pay, access and receive health and wellness services/products through Health Wallets. The platform was created against a background in which primary healthcare serves as the bedrock of health in numerous African countries. Still, a staggering 60% of Africans face barriers to accessing care. Each year, around 11 million people plunge into poverty due to a confluence of factors, including the absence of health insurance, escalating out-of-pocket expenses, challenges related to accessibility (both in distance and associated costs), inadequate infrastructure, government underinvestment in the health sector and a shortage of skilled health workers. 

Through the CWL Accelerator and the development of a scalable chat service, the organisation aims to streamline the onboarding of customers for the free Health Wallets, adding family members as beneficiaries, access funding for their Health Wallets, book virtual and home care appointments, ordering medication and accessing mental health services.

Frontier Markets | India

Frontier Markets is a pioneering social enterprise operating at the nexus of women empowerment and technology, facilitating access to essential products and services in rural India. Through its innovative platform, the company has established a network of 20,000 digital rural women entrepreneurs, known as "Saral Jeevan Sahelis," who utilise technology to connect companies with rural communities. With a reach extending to over 1 million families, Frontier Markets has enabled access to impactful climate-friendly solutions spanning agriculture, clean energy, digital financial services, healthcare, consumer goods and commerce, all delivered directly to their doorsteps. The Sahelis have emerged as trusted influencers and leaders in their villages, advocating for community needs and significantly contributing to their families' economic prosperity. To date, they have generated over $30 million in income, empowering themselves and investing in their children's futures. 

Frontier Markets is endeavouring to establish a chat support system that focuses on mapping, onboarding and training small women-owned businesses. Additionally, it aims to foster engagement with Sahelis and small women-owned businesses, connecting with last-mile rural customers.

Karya | Give Dignified Work | India

Karya empowers economically disadvantaged individuals, majority women, by providing dignified digital work. Through its inclusive smartphone app, the platform focuses on supplementary income, skill development and career guidance. This holistic approach to livelihood generation can potentially transform millions of lives, creating pathways out of poverty.

Karya's one-stop app includes features for digital work and access to skills development.
Karya has witnessed firsthand the transformative power of WhatsApp messaging in their users' lives. Through the CWL Accelerator, Karya aims to supercharge the platform's existing functionalities, allowing it to scale exponentially and making it even more accessible to women.

Sauti East Africa | Kenya

Sauti East Africa is a social enterprise based in Kenya that deploys agricultural climate, market and trade information to women MSMEs in “low-technology” environments across East Africa. Sauti leverages mobile technology's low-cost and wide reach, specifically USSD, SMS, and WhatsApp messages, to empower women-owned MSMEs to work legally, safely and profitably. Farmers in Kenya and Uganda encounter substantial challenges in staying informed about and preparing for forecasted climate and market volatility. Without the digital literacy and technology to access this information, women-owned MSMEs in agriculture are either typically excluded from family farm decisions or simply operate in the market without this information - exposing their businesses to the risks of volatile weather and markets.

Sauti aims to develop a chat service that can deliver real-time weather forecasts, climate hazard predictions, agricultural strategies and market information to women smallholder farmers in East Africa at scale, empowering them to make informed business decisions and reducing vulnerability to weather and market fluctuations. 

Tech HERfrica | Nigeria

Tech HERfrica provides market access for rural farmers and traders to help them sell more of their products at the right prices, leading to an increase in income for the farmers, reduction in post-harvest waste and provision of unadulterated food items to buyers at the best prices possible. The platform was created in a context where rural women, who play a significant role in Africa's food production, are trapped in poverty cycles as they struggle to access new markets and sell their products at fair prices. HerLocal Market is dedicated to breaking the cycle of poverty for African women and girls in agriculture by leveraging electronic and social commerce and empowering women economically. 

According to a statement released by the United Nations, e-commerce in Africa is expected to grow by 50% by 2025. However, all available data show that rural women, who produce a significant proportion of Africa's food, are left behind due to social norms, high digital illiteracy and a lack of access to affordable internet and smartphones. Unlike traditional e-commerce applications, due to the ease of using WhatsApp Tech HERfrica is able to train these women and onboard them into trading online. This significantly reduces the gender gap in online trade, especially for women in rural and underserved communities. Also, due to some social norms and rising insecurity  in some parts of Nigeria, some women are unable to move freely without male figures or assistants that offers these women the opportunity to shop for their items from the comfort of their homes. 

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