213 Community of Practice (COP) meetings were held in 2018 with 1494 places being filled, the most in DFI’s history. These places were filled by 603 individuals, meaning 40% of attendees are going to multiple meetings which indicates how useful people are finding them.
COPs are where like-minded students and DFI alumni come together face-to-face in cities across the globe to network, share knowledge and ideas, and take action to implement learning and change. Meetings took place in sixteen cities around the world, Abidjan, Accra, Addis Ababa, Cape Town, Cotonou, Dakar, Dar es Salaam, Dhaka, Harare, Kampala, Kigali, Lagos, Lilongwe/Blantyre, Lusaka, Maputo and Nairobi.
Some meetings focus around our two foundational courses, Certificate in Digital Money (CIDM) and Leading Digital Money Markets (LDMM). Guest speakers invited to present and share at these COP meetings were from organisations including: Central Banks, Regulators, Telco’s, Commercial Banks, FinTechs, Development Organisations (UNCDF, CGAP and GSMA), and staff from DFI.
We found that the interaction and personalization of learning these COP meetings gives to students positively impacts on the increasing their chances of passing the CIDM and LDMM courses, and also increase their overall course points score. 92% of students who attended COPs reported them as being a useful learning opportunity, and 86% found the COP beneficial in networking and plan to keep in touch with the peers they met.
Digital Financial Services can be emergent and disruptive field and it can be difficult to bring about change and solve problems alone. COPs bring the opportunity for engagement, interaction, collaboration and continuous development with peers and experts. It is also exciting for us to see that as members gather together, they are beginning to act collectively and are leveraging their shared knowledge and experience to influence financial inclusion and digital finance in their countries. Ten of the groups are exploring or have found ways to formalize within their locations and develop aims and ideas to implement. Two of the most successful of these are Kampala and Lusaka.
Kampala have already registered an organization and are hoping to collaborate in 2019 with the Ministry of ICT regarding Uganda’s digital vision and Fintechs and innovators within the digital space. They were influential in campaigning against the mobile money tax which has now been reduced, and plan to advocate more for initiatives that will increase financial inclusion. Lusaka have a constitution and are in the process of registering as an organization. They have been actively lobbying for financial inclusion and offering professional support to organisations including Central Bank, Ministry of Finance, and Regulators, and are collaborating on events and activities with development organisations including FSD Zambia and UNCDF.
We strongly urge those students signing up for CIDM and LDMM courses this year to join a COP if one is available. We also encourage all our alumni in these locations to make contact with their COP facilitator and join in with the alumni network and activities. There are real benefits both to you, to the profession and ultimately, we hope to those at the bottom of the pyramid who can benefit from being financially included.
If you are not sure who your COP facilitator is or have any questions, please visit the COP pages or contact DFI’s Community of Practice Manager, Sarah Corley, with any questions: email@example.com