Priscilla King Gray Public Service Center

Programming knowledge to strengthen a mobile-base platform to reach higher impact in managing personal savings at the BoP in Sao Paulo


Peripheral communities in Sao Paulo


Poupacerto is a Financial Management and ICT project ideated at the International Development Design Summit 2012 in Brazil. We work to bring a revolution in personal finances to the Brazilian BoP through a simple, scalable and intuitive mobile tool based on SMS, as a response to the lack of financial education that leads to precarious financial management.

We do this by blending behavior theory analysis and technology to produce simple tools that effectively help people optimize this task. Therefore increase their quality of life by allowing them to take charge of their own development.

During the last year, with the financial support of the IDDS microgrant and the Telefonica Foundation prize on innovative technologies, we were been able to research on behavioral theories and develop a mobile-based platform that uses 6 main interactions designed to help users achieve their financial savings goals. Now, at the testing stage we need to develop a robust Proof-of-Concept to reach the next step in our business strategy.

Location: a community located in the South-West outskirts of Sao Paulo. Further testing and pilots will be run in parallel with the Vila Nova Esperança community (home of the IDIN Innovation Center) located in a Sao Paulo's West area.

The Challenge

As our main aim is to achieve greater impact, scaling up means building the right technological platform infrastructure that could efficiently support a greater quantity of users.and tranform PoupaCerto into a more efficient and intelligent solution. In order to understand the challenge, you should know that:

In this sense, we're missing lots of potentially beneficial information for our model. So we're looking for someone who can mix the passion for social innovation to impact people and skills to:

Although the team knows these main solution are key for our product development, we do not have a deep knowledge that can make the implementation efficient, being one of the options to hire a professional programmer, a task difficult to achieve due to the high costs and limited budget.

While working with us, you will have a better understanding and insights of user-focused design as well as designing and developing technologies for behavioral change, having access to a pool of potential users willing to test your work. You would also go on-field to brainstorm new models and new ways to use the data we would be gathered through the web-app, and how to translate that into effective SMS interactions. Finally, working in low-income communities is a challenging but very rewarding experience, being able to establish relationships and understand a different way of living within the Brazilian culture context and an international team.

Qualifications, Preferences, and Assets

Ruby on Rails (development and production environment setup)
Knowledge of HTML / HTML5 and CSS3
Knowledge of SQL queries
Knowledge of Rails web-app publication using custom server

Social Innovation
Passionate in mixing technology with behavioral theory for social impact.

Knowledge of Portuguese (preferred but not essential)

Time constraints

As we use lean as a philosophy to refine the platform based on our users needs, we are looking to have a contributor for no more than two months after our next testing round (March-May) to have concrete results and see how we can improve and tailor our platform to move forward into higher impact.


Mauricio Barrera, Co-Founder
+55 (11)  969229749              

Priscilla King Gray Public Service Center
77 Massachusetts Avenue, Room W20-549, Cambridge, MA 02139-4307
Tel: 617-253-0742  ·  Fax: 617-258-9357
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