DFI has 16 active Communities of Practice (COPs) around the globe who are meeting regularly to discuss digital finance and financial inclusion. Approximately 45% of our alumni are based in these cities and have the opportunity benefit from COPs.
COPs are an essential part of DFI’s capacity building approach and from our analysis we know that:
- There is a statistically significant connection between attendance at COPs and pass rate and final points score when studying the Certificate in Digital Money and Leading Digital Money Markets courses.
- Students find COPs very useful for networking, learning, problem-solving and confidence building
- Around 80% of students plan on staying in touch with people they meet at COP meetings
- Change and impact are being made. COPs have influenced regulators and policy makers, such as campaigning against the mobile money tax in Uganda, contributing to working groups for the National Financial Inclusion Strategy in Zambia, and changes to USSD procedures by the Telco regulator in Mozambique
- Associations are forming, where registered organisations are being established by the COP facilitator and alumni members with the aim of influencing digital finance and financial inclusion in their countries. Uganda have formed Digital Frontiers Association, Zambia have formed Association of Digital Finance Practitioners, and Mozambique are currently registering their FinTech focused association
As COPs are enjoyed by so many of our alumni and have such an impact, it is important that we ensure these opportunities remain available for the foreseeable future and are well facilitated and supported. With this aim in mind, DFI convened the first COP Facilitator Conference which was held in Cape Town in April 2019. 13 of the 16 countries were represented at the conference where facilitators had time to reflect on their successes, learn techniques to improve facilitation, understand how COPs connect into DFI’s strategy and find new ways to evaluate impact. Of course, we also had time for fun, friendships and bonding – community is such a vital component of COPs!
Since meeting together and having time to learn, reflect and plan for the future, a number of exiting developments have occurred:
- Even more locations
- are formalising their groups, either partnering with existing groups/associations or creating their own association – this includes Rwanda, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Bangladesh, Ghana, Senegal,
- Other groups are exploring the best way for the future with their alumni, recognising that each location and the needs of its members are unique
- COP facilitators are trying out new techniques and approaches in their COP meetings and are engaging students/alumni to attend meetings and be more active members of the COP
- COP facilitators feel less alone in their strive to create a community and are reaching out to one another for support, ideas and guidance, as well as sharing industry news and updates
From DFI’s perspective, we have experienced an increase in motivation and sense of community amongst COP facilitators; facilitators are more engaged with DFI and our strategy; they are also actively helping DFI recruit new students and corporates to our online courses; and plans for a sustainable future for COPs are being made. A guidebook was also produced summarising the output of discussions.
We thank all our COP facilitators for all the hard work and energy they put into making COPs such a great success. You can visit our community pages to find out more about our COPs and where they are located, and ways to contact COP facilitators. If you have any questions or would like to start up a COP in your location please email: Sarah@digitalfrontiersinstitute.org