Our Final presentation went well. We were planning to do a video with each one of us playing the role of a villager, MFI, agent and money lender but then decided to drop the idea due to time constraints and we were not sure how it would be taken since we were trying to portray villagers who were underprivileged, had little assets and were looking for micro loans to get on the track of progress. We ended up just recording use of the SmartMicroLoans website which did not turn out to have good audio quality so I finally just let the video run with no sound and talking live during the presentation.
I was able to get through some hurdles related to handling user login/logout sessions and the prototype looks in good shape, though there is more work to be done. I was also able to make use of the nokia WiFi/GPRS enabled phones/devices, the Nokia E61i and Nokia N810, and access the SmartMicroLoans site using these phones and demonstrate different users (borrowers and MFIs) using the system during the poster session.
Last Tuesday our team, together with ISF, were able to get in touch with a founder of an MFI fund in India and we got good feedback regarding the model ISF is following in Rajugela and on trying to bring in microfinance. Unfortunately due to the time difference in the US and India we were not able to get in touch during the scheduled time.
The title of this blog says "the story begins...", yes for our team the story really begins now. In May one of our team mate, Leigh, is scheduled to go to India to gather more information and show the prototype to MFIs and encourage them to get on board to participate in the system. Also it will give an opportunity to directly show the villagers what the prototype looks like, how they would use it and get feedback from them.