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Certified by DFI

Digitizing Humanitarian & Social Assistance

$250 / Finance Available

This 6-week course provides a general introduction to the use of digital payments in humanitarian aid, and the mechanics used for delivering digital aid.

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Start Date

29 April 2022


6 Weeks


Online, in our digital classroom

Digital Humanitarian Payments: Extreme Operations

This course is a general introduction to the use of digital payments in humanitarian aid. We focus on the mechanics of digital humanitarian cash transfers from the perspective of those distributing cash (humanitarian agencies) as well as those receiving it (beneficiaries). We also explore the benefits of digitized aid and the reality: that many programs are limited by the extreme conditions in which they operate. Along this journey, we pull from best practice in both the humanitarian and private sectors; counter popular assumptions; and ground recommendations with voices from humanitarian implementers, private sector partners, and the beneficiaries we want to serve.

Why do I need a Digital Payments Course?

This course is intended for humanitarians (donors, advisors, and implementers), but may also be of interest to payments professionals. Humanitarians may be excited to learn how best to evaluate digital payment options, and design and manage digital cash transfer programs for greater impact. Payments professionals may want to better understand their humanitarian clients or may be exploring expansion into this growing field. We invite people who feel passionate about the link between technology and financial inclusion – as well as those who are skeptical about the extent to which technology can solve humanitarian issues – to find out more and join in our discussions.

Students coming out of the course should have a basic understanding of digital payment options and potential benefits; the regulatory environment that governs digital humanitarian cash; and the common pitfalls and potential of different delivery mechanisms. Students should feel prepared to grapple with design and implementation issues, including data protection, inclusive programming, partner negotiations, and contracting. Students should also feel confident in forming their own opinions on the appropriate use of technology in these emerging markets.

Course Curriculum


Dr Ignacio Mas

Dr. Ignacio Mas, Co-Founder and formerly Executive Director of the Digital Frontiers Institute

Lily Frey

Senior Program Officer

Sara Murry

Program Manager
Electronic Cash Transfer
Learning Action Network

What are Digital Payments?

Digital payments are any payment made using a digital financial service, and can include payments for goods or services rendered as well as the delivery of humanitarian aid.

What is Digital Humanitarian Aid?

Digital humanitarian aid refers to the practice of using digital financial services to deliver humanitarian aid to populations that cannot access it otherwise.

What is DFS?

DFS, or digital financial services, are any financial services that are available through digital channels, and includes payments, credit, savings, transfers and insurance.

What is Fintech?

Fintech, or financial technology, refers to any digital technological tools or business models used to support the delivery of financial services.

What is Financial Inclusion

Financial inclusion is a key part of DFI’s agenda and refers to the goal of ensuring that all people, especially marginalised groups, have access to the financial tools they need.

What is a Virtual Classroom?

A virtual classroom is a learning environment that only exists through a digital platform and that allows students to participate regardless of their geographic location. All DFI’s courses are delivered in a virtual classroom.

What is Digital Frontiers Institute?

Digital Frontiers Institute (DFI) is a digital education provider designed to prepare professionals for the challenges and opportunities they will encounter in a rapidly changing economy.