Maria May

Maria May, senior program officer, leads the Gates Foundation’s efforts to accelerate impactful usage of digital financial services by unbanked and low-income people globally. She spent seven years with BRAC in Bangladesh, where she co-authored a book on its community-based tuberculosis control program, established the Social Innovation Lab, and led the R&D team for the microfinance program. She oversaw the launch of BRAC’s innovation fund for mobile money, which incubated pilots on digitizing school fees, emergency cash transfers, savings deposits, and other development activities.

Maria was a founding member of Harvard’s Global Health Delivery Program, where she wrote a number of case studies and research articles. She also consulted for the Brookings Institution, the Bridgespan Group, Harvard South Asia Institute, and Teach for All, and completed a fellowship with the New York State Health Department’s AIDS Institute. Her writing on financial inclusion, social innovation, and development has been published in outlets including the Lancet, the Guardian, Stanford Social Innovation Review, and the Center for Financial Inclusion.

By Maria May


Financial Inclusion-Friendly G2P: Recommendations for Stakeholders

G2P transfer experiments during the COVID-19 pandemic collectively demonstrate the importance of “financial inclusion (FI)-friendly” G2P - intentional architecting and implementation that support active DFS usage beyond an initial payment.

Bangladesh’s COVID-19 Response Is Taking Digital Finance to New Levels

Bangladesh’s policies in response to COVID-19 have enabled more low-income people to benefit from digital financial services.

Let Her Choose: Supercharging G2P for Women

Government-to-person (G2P) programs can reach millions of women. What if instead of requiring women to receive payments from a single provider, they enabled women to select among several options and to reward good service with their business?

How Hard Is It to Use Mobile Money as a Rural Bangladeshi Woman?

Women in Bangladesh have one of the lowest rates of mobile money usage in the world. Does the dearth of usage indicate a lack of appropriate products and services? Just how hard is it to use mobile money if you are a rural Bangladeshi woman?