Corner shops are small neighborhood shops that sell daily provisions, medicine, airtime, or provide CICO, salon, or other types of services. The Corner Shop Diaries project tracks daily financial transactions of corner shop owners across Asia and Africa using the Financial Diaries research method. The data collected from the corner shops include income, business expenses, casual expenses, savings deposited, savings withdrawn, and credit taken or repaid.
Tracking the financial transactions of corner shop owners yields insights into how they managed their business and household finances, how they helped the community, and how they have been recovering from the shock of COVID-19.
Corner shops are at the intersection of two distinct vulnerable segments: microenterprises and low- and moderate-income (LMI) people. They served as an essential source of supply of daily provisions during the time of lockdowns effected by COVID-19.
Interactions with corner shop owners can also generate important insights on:

  • The use of digital finance by microbusinesses and LMI segments
  • How the demand for various daily-use items has changed during the COVID-19 period;
  • How microbusinesses managed their businesses during the pandemic
  • What challenges they faced earlier and now
  • What worries they have regarding their future, change in their overall wellbeing

MSC and L-IFT joined forces to track the life of corner shop owners in countries across Asia and Africa in the context of the pandemic to generate data-based insights for policymakers and financial service providers. We have been collecting data from 100+ corner shops across Uganda, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Senegal, India, Indonesia, and Bangladesh.
We use three distinct research methodologies in this project: 

(i) Financial Diaries method to track daily financial transactions of business and household 

(ii) High-frequency micro-surveys, 

(iii) In-depth qualitative interviews of corner shop owners.
We use the Finbit platform (developed by L-IFT) for data entry for daily diaries and micro-surveys.
This website is dedicated to the data insights that we have been gathering from this research project. Please write to aswinderen@l-ift.com and graham@microsave.net if you have further queries or if you want to get involved in this project.



L-IFT was founded by Anne Marie van Swinderen in January 2015. We are a boutique consulting firm intending to stay small, flexible and pragmatic. We endeavour to create a collaborative and inspiring work environment for all our consultants, junior and senior. The organization is there to support its consultants rather than the other way around and will reward generously according to the results produced by the individual consultants. By working within the framework of L-IFT top quality thinkers and do-ers, innovators and implementers will be able to unleash their entrepreneurship without having to go through the tedious process of setting up their own company and systems.


MicroSave Consulting (MSC) is a boutique consulting firm that has, for 20 years, pushed the world towards meaningful financial, social, and economic inclusion. With 11 offices around the globe, about 180 staff of different nationalities and varied expertise, we are proud to be working in over 65 developing countries. We partner with participants in financial services ecosystems to achieve sustainable performance improvements and unlock enduring value. Our clients include governments, donors, private sector corporations, and local businesses. We can help you seize the digital opportunity, address the mass market, and future-proof your operations.

L-IFT team

Anne Marie van Swinderen

Founder and Managing Director

Jose Vahl

Country Director L-IFT Myanmar

MHLalisi Ncube

Programme Manager

Mahlet Alemayehu

Founder and Managing Director

Haimanot Yibeltal

Technology Manager

Minh Deo

Video Maker

Andrew Magunda

Country Manager – L-IFT Uganda

Theresa Thin

Programme Officer

Eric Anjeo

Video Maker


Graham A.N. Wright

Founder, Group Managing Director

Rahul Chatterjee


Raunak Kapoor

Senior Manager

Anant Tiwari


Akhand Tiwari

Associate Partner

Yani Parasti Siregar


Grace Retnowati

Associate partner

Rahmatika Febrianti

Assistant Manager

Manoshij Banerjee

Assistant Manager

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