Slum Logistics; mobile based addresses for slum areas

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Slum Logistics; mobile based addresses for slum areas

Amsterdam, NetherlandsMumbai, India
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Millions of small businesses exist in slums worldwide. Most of them do not have formally recognised addresses, which makes it difficult to send and receive goods. TNT and Vodafone have studied the opportunities of mobile-based addresses, which could enable local stores to rise above poverty by connecting their business to a larger market in the future.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Millions of small businesses exist in slums worldwide. Most of them do not have formally recognised addresses, which makes it difficult to send and receive goods. An address can enable local stores to rise above poverty by connecting their business to a larger market. Chris, a Kibera slum resident explains: "One million people live in Kibera, but we do not have addresses. So when I ordered a camera to use as a journalist, I could not receive the package directly. I had to walk to the nearest postal office at a 3.5km distance. And not just once, I did not know when the package would arrive, so I had to walk back and forth regularly. The people who live in Kibera have little money, so when a package arrives, we even have to bribe the the local authorities to ensure the delivery..."

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

The study showed that mobile phone locations (Geocodes) could be connected to TNT's express global logistics network. In the future, mobile based addresses could leapfrog street names and postal codes in extremely dense and maze-structured urban areas; slums.
An extra added value will be the option to transfer money via the reliable Mpesa (Vodafone's mobile payment system). Local slum businesses could securely do business on the global market place, because cash payments are impossible when doing businesses abroad! Want to read more about the project? Check out the published articles:
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

a local slum entrepreneur sells leather bags via internet. He receives an order from a customer in Europe. Via a text message from Mpesa, he knows that the money is being paid by the customer. The mobile money will be released when he send the bag. When the bag is ready, he calls TNT for pick up of the package. TNT identifies his location via the GPS coordinates. The package is being collected. If the bag has been delivered to the customer via TNT, Mpesa directly transfers the money to the local slum entrepreneur. Visa versa, if a local slum entrepreneur orders spare parts for his bike shop, he can use his mobile phone number as address location. He pays via Mpesa. Mpesa holds the money until the entrepreneur receives the spare parts. Then, the money is being transferred. TNT delivers the spare parts to the GPS location that has been registered with the mobile phone number. Reliable logistics and secure payments stimulate local slum businesses to rise out of poverty by connecting them to the global market place.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

There are 2 key differentiators that could potentially give an advantage to the mobile-based address system: First, the mobile-based addresses could directly be linked to a global network. Local carriers do not have this direct connection to a global network. Second, this mobile-based address system could combine the option to securely transfer money via mobile payments. Secure payments are key to stimulate local businesses to participate in the global market place.


Founding Story

With a group of 5 students, I have spend 2 months in Kibera slum (Nairobi, Kenya) for a field research in 2010. Back in the Netherlands, one of our friends from Kibera asked if we could send him a camera. Willing to support his career as a journalist, we tried to send him a camera. At this moment, I noticed that it is almost impossible to send a camera to someone living in a slum! Aha, the idea of creating addresses for informal settlements was born!
About You
About You
First Name

Sacha Carina

Tell us about yourself/your team.
(a Pinterest style overview with photos/videos of the field researches I have conducted in Kenya, India and Tanzania)

I would like to start with a saying I truly believe in: "If you are working in an institution with the means to truly make a difference in the world,optimism of the spirit is a moral responsibility" (world bank)

I work at TNT Express as Global Program Manager Innovation. The global program I have developed focusses on the area where our business, technology (ICS) and society meet. Within this triangle, my ambition is to create shared value for all.
Within the slum logistics project, I have successfully developed the partnership between TNT, Vodafone's Mpesa team and a group of representatives of a local slum in India (Mumbai).

What makes you an intrapreneur? What are the skills, capabilities, and personality traits that make you an intrapreneur?

There are three key characteristics that I believe every entrepreneur should have (...and I hope I have): 1.Go out and meet people, 2.Have a strong believe in your ideals and 3. Think different!
Connect with people: I do not want to work within an office environment. Every possible moment, I want to go into the field and meet locals. I have spend 2 months in Kibera slum, visited rural areas in Tanzania and explored the maze-structured streets of Dharavi (India).
Believe in your ideals: My true believe in this project made that TNT and Vodafone wanted to be part of this project. If you speak from the heart, you can move mountains!
Think different: I mixed logistics with mobile phone locations to create a better world...and it works!

About Your Organization
Company Country

, NH, Amsterdam

Primary country where this project is creating social impact

, MM, Mumbai

Additional countries or regions

all developing countries worldwide



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Select the stage that best applies to your solution

Idea (you're poised to launch)

The Solution: Why is this solution innovative for your company and industry?

This solution is innovative for TNT express and the transport industry, because currently formal addresses are based on street names and postal codes. The technology of linking mobile phones to address locations is new to this industry.

The solution will not only be innovative for the transport industry; it will have a huge positive impact on all other sectors; food security, access to healthcare, emergency responses... Logistics are at the core of all global challenges.

What has been the impact of your solution to date?

Up to this date, we have conduced a local field research in Dharavi slum. The outcome of this research is that there is a lot of potential for Geocode (GPS) based address locations.
We did as well identify other areas of potential impact: formal parts of mega cities in emerging markets (there are many 'formal' houses in Mumbai that do not have an address either), rural areas and emergency situations (e.g.: geocode locations can be used to deliver goods after a disaster has occurred).

What is your projected impact over the next 1 to 3 years?

Within three years, we want to have mobile based addresses implemented in Honduras. Honduras is one of the first countries that we want to support to develop logistics and infrastructure to empower local 'BoP' communities.
TNT supports the logistics development of Honduras via our partnership with SUSTAIN (SUSTAIN is an NGO founded by TNT, UPS, WVI and Care International) to give consultancy advice on sustainable supply chain solutions for underdeveloped countries.

What barriers might hinder the success of your project? How do you plan to overcome them?

Barriers can arise by implementing local ICS infrastructure and combining it to existing logistics. Honduras is a completely different than India, so the solution needs to be adapted to local differences.
We can overcome these problems by doing a good local field research, involve ICS experts and work together with local government and the BoP societies to establish a new type of address system.

What is the benefit or value you're creating for your business?

The value of the research for TNT's business is to learn more about mobile based addresses. Leapfrogging technologies can always be useful in the future for core processes.

How are you leveraging internal resources (funds, time, knowledge, etc.) to support this initiative?

TNT supports SUSTAIN's developments in Honduras, which could be a location to pilot geocode based addresses for local farmers. The pilot would be executed via the SUSTAIN partnership, which means that the funds and time will be covered by them. Potentially extra funds are needed. Option can be to look at a Public Private Partnerships to obtain the initial investment. TNT will bring in the knowledge of the research on mobile-based addresses by sending out TNT employees to Honduras to manage the project.

Expand on your answer, explaining the long-term funding and support plan.

Currently we do not have an long-term funding and support plan. A more detailed plan will follow from a potential Honduras pilot.

Tell us about your partnerships across your company and externally that are key to your project's success.

The 3 key external partnerships for TNT to support this research have been; the WBCSD (Technology enablers initiative), Vodafone Group Ltd. (Mpesa) and SUSTAIN (partnership of TNT, UPS, WVI and Care International). The WBCSD serves as a catalyst to start innovative projects and has linked TNT to Vodafone for the slum research.

What internal support have you gotten for your project? What kind of push-back have you received?

Internally, we have had top-down and bottom-up support. Top Down: The TNT Board of Management has supported the local field research in India. Bottom-up: we have had strong support from TNT Mumbai and the local depot managers to execute the field research.