Hausa USSD to Promote Rural Access

About This Project

This project has  passed Gate 1:

The team believes we have correctly identified the problem and solution and is currently working with a research partner IPA  to validate the solution 

Gate 1 Writeup:


Short problem statement summary


Many potential DFS users in Northern Nigeria struggle to use digital financial services through basic phone menus because they are not very fluent in english. Smartphones (which sometimes have translation or alternative language menu capabilities are not widely adopted either. This problem affects women most of all. We propose to develop a Hausa menu schema that can be implemented via USSD on basic phones that will enable these users to access digital financial services more easily on any device.


Detailed description of problem 

USSD, which has a low barrier for entry and doesn’t require smartphones or data charges, provides an excellent channel for providing financial services to the unserved and underserved. However, these channels, when they exist, are primarily often poorly designed and offered in English language only, which may be a barrier to the target demographic.


Who are the main stakeholders and what are their requirements?

We believe the main stakeholders will be product developers at fintechs or banks who can implement the Hausa USSD menu within their products. The hausa USSD will potentially become an interface that basically allows the rural women to interact with a DFS product in hausa.


Relevant technologies, tools, systems, and APIs for identified solutions?

  • Africa’s Talking USSD API


End user experience?

We want to design an end to end experience (from onboarding to final usage) which is entirely in Hausa over USSD and which gives women who don’t speak English fluently an interface they can navigate and understand with ease. 

Which challenges does this solve?

If successful, this project will lower the barrier of entry to financial products (Easy Onboarding) and allow for better participation on digital channels (Digital Channel) for women in Northern Nigeria.


  • Resources: Who is the team required for the next phase? What are their roles? What is the budget if any?
  • One software developer to build out the USSD decision tree, integrate the APIs necessary for deployment and document the USSD’s APIs for easy integration.
  • One Product Manager to oversee the development of the platform and work with fintech startups or banks to integrate into their platform.
  • A UX researcher to implement well-robust user-research principles and implement findings on the platform


  • Expected timeline for this phase.

May-June 2022

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