A Mobile application to track pension payments: a case for pensions department in Kenya
According to the existing terms and conditions of service especially for the permanent and pensionable officers in public service in Kenya, officers expect terminal benefits as an incentive for the services they rendered to the country for a number of years of their working life. These terminal benefits are referred to as pension in this study, which is simply the amount set aside either by employer, employee or both to ensure that at retirement there is something for employees to fall back on as an income so that they are not stranded financially. All public service retirees or pensioners are aware that they as entitled to some pension benefits. However, most pensioners do not know what their benefits are as well as not knowing how to access the benefits due to lack reliable, effective and efficient methods of interaction between them and the Pensions Department. This leads to suffering and hardship of pensioners and their dependents and beneficiaries of deceased public servants associated with delay in the processing and payment of pension. Current methods used for interacting with pensioners are through the media, sending letters or pensioners visiting the Pensions Department in Nairobi. These methods are costly, inefficient and unreliable. These challenges and weaknesses necessitated to the development a mobile application exclusively for the civil service pensioners whose pension is disbursed through the Pensions Department. The application helps pensioners interact directly with the Pensions Department by tracking their pension payments through an interactive menu based Unstructured Supplementary Service Data application that provides feedback and notifications through a Short Message Service. The study used V- shaped software development model to design, develop and test the application. The application was tested to show that pensioners can interact directly with the Department and access pension services using a mobile phone. Findings from usability testing illustrated that pensioners appreciated that the application was simple to use, provided clear feedback and instructions as well as being easy to learn, even for the first time. Overall, they were satisfied using the application and agreed to recommend it to other pensioners. Feedback from the respondents testing the application showed they liked the idea that such a digital tool could be accessed using any mobile phone without Internet connectivity or the need to download it. The application helped them familiarise themselves with the pensions processes by providing them with feedback or alerts as they tracked their payments till the payment stage. The study concluded by recommending the adoption of the application by the Pensions Department in Kenya and in other African countries with such public pension schemes.