This pilot preparation started in April 2019, an MVP was launched in Q4 2020 *updated due to COVID-19 previously Q2 quarter of 2020.


The British Red Cross is guided by the seven fundamental principles of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. They have been implementing Cash Based Aid (CBA) as part of their activities in places such as Pakistan and Mongolia. After disasters, if local shops and markets are still open, the Red Cross/Crescent provides emergency cash grants to affected families. People can then buy essentials such as food and medicines and don’t have to wait for emergency aid to reach them. The money they spend also helps to keep the economy going after an emergency, speeding up recovery. Looking for ways to increase impact in other countries, they invested their funding & lead the 121 Direct Cash Aid Pilot in Isiolo, Kenya.


The 121 Pilot consists of two tracks:

1. Human Centered Design (HCD) Track
2: Tech Track


121 products are designed with the end-users in mind. For the co-design sessions in Kenya, these will be People affected & Aid Workers. In August 2019, 510 together with Kenya Red Cross conducted co-design sessions with:

  • 20 People Affected by disasters & poverty in the region
  • 5 Aid Workers from Kenyan and British Red Cross
  • 2 Local Service Provider employees Safaricom

The insights from these sessions will inform the interfaces & system requirements for the GSMA consortium Minimal Viable Product (MVP) and will be added to all insights gathered as 121 Co-Designs further across the globe.


The goal of the 121 system is Direct Cash Aid, which consists of two components. Digital Identity Creation and Cash Aid Distribution.

For the Pilot in Malawi, the MVP will Incorporate both components:

Digital Identity Creation

The MVP is being co-created in a collaboration between Tykn & 510 (An Initiative of the Netherlands Red Cross)Tykn leads the development of the #DigitalIdentityBackend and 510 leads the development of the #121Frontend and integration into the #121System.

Tykn’s mission is “Providing access to human rights through digital identities. Because people matter.” And that is indeed what they have been working on: bringing privacy, data protection and efficiency to digital identities using blockchain.

510’s purpose is to “Improve speed, quality & cost-effectiveness of humanitarian aid by using data & digital”. It started 121 in 2017 as a way to reach this purpose. It leverages Data Science, Technology and Human Centered Design to create its products.

Cash Aid Distribution COVID-19 update!

The NOV 2020 MVP was lead by 510 development of the #121Frontend and integration into the #121System.

It has originally been planned to implement this component with Disberse & 510 (An Initiative of the Netherlands Red Cross)Disberse lead many sprints of development of the #BackendMoneyflow however due to changes in timelines affected greatly by the COVID Pandemic the plans changed to  510 and Kenya Red Cross IT department working together with Africa’s talking as a local Financial service provider to implement it.

Disberse’s vision is a world where money flows for the greatest impact. They are building a new kind of financial institution, founded by experienced aid professionals, taking advantage of emerging financial technology and regulations.

Currently, Disberse is exploring potential Cash Based Aid modalities with Local Service Providers to add as part of the 121System for the MVP pilot in Q1 2020.

Safaricom is a leading communications company in Kenya with the widest and strongest coverage and the home of the Mobile Money service- M-PESA. Their vision is to use their ability to deliver connectivity and innovative services to improve the quality of life and the livelihood of every person we reach. Central to achieving this vision is their continuing commitment to managing their operations responsibly and ethically.

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