Empowering change: my journey with Digital Frontiers Institute

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Author: Jacinta Maiyo

In a rapidly evolving digital landscape, keeping up with the latest trends and acquiring the right skills is crucial for professionals seeking to make a meaningful impact in their industries. One organisation that understands this need is the Digital Frontiers Institute (DFI), a renowned institution based in South Africa that specialises in providing training and education on digital finance and financial inclusion. Let me take you on a journey through my experience with DFI, specifically with their Certified Digital Finance Practitioner (CDFP) course, and how it transformed my career, community, and country.

 

The Decision to Embark on the CDFP Journey

The ever-growing importance of digital finance and the potential for financial inclusion captivated my attention. I was eager to dive deeper into this realm and become an agent of change in my organisation. The CDFP course seemed like the perfect opportunity to develop the skills and knowledge required to make a substantial impact. With the course modules covering a range of topics including mobile money, digital payments, and blockchain, I knew this was the step I needed to propel my career forward. Under the CDFP course, I enrolled in Certificate in Digital Money, Digitising Agriculture, Marketing in emerging markets, product management in FinTech, AI (Artificial Intelligence) in Finance, Cybersecurity, Digital Identity, and Understanding Tech in Business.

 

The CDFP Experience

As I embarked on my CDFP journey, I found myself immersed in a world of cutting-edge knowledge and practical insights. The course structure was designed to provide a comprehensive understanding of digital finance, with each module delving into a specific aspect of the field. I gained a solid foundation in digital finance principles and practices through engaging video lectures, interactive readings, and thought-provoking case studies. The knowledge I acquired went beyond theory; it was knowledge I could apply directly to real-world scenarios.

One of the highlights of the CDFP course was the opportunity to attend local Community of Practice (COP) meetings hosted within my country, Kenya. These gatherings brought together professionals from diverse backgrounds, all passionate about digital finance and financial inclusion. The COP meetings served as a platform for networking, exchanging ideas and learning from one another’s experiences. The sense of camaraderie and shared purpose was palpable, and it fuelled my motivation to make a difference in this field.

Upon completing the CDFP course, I had the privilege of joining the Alumni group in my region. This vibrant community of like-minded professionals provided ongoing support, learning opportunities, and a platform for collaboration. The Alumni meetings were an extension of the COP meetings, allowing us to reconnect, share our post-course journeys, and discuss emerging trends in digital finance. It was during these meetings that I realised the true power of a network built on shared knowledge and experiences.

 

Impact on Career Growth

Engaging with the CDFP course, the COP, and the Alumni group had a profound impact on my career growth. Armed with the knowledge and skills acquired from DFI, I was able to take on more significant roles within my organisation. My expertise in digital finance opened doors to exciting projects and initiatives that aligned with my passion for financial inclusion. I found myself at the forefront of technological advancements, driving innovation and spearheading digital transformation. I saw my career take a remarkable leap forward. In 2022, my organisation recognised the need for a Global Director of Digitisation to spearhead its digital transformation initiatives. The position required someone with deep expertise in digital finance and a proven track record of driving successful digital initiatives. I saw this as an excellent opportunity to showcase my skills and passion for the field.

Drawing on my experiences and accomplishments from the CDFP course, I applied for the role. I prepared diligently, highlighting my expertise in digital finance, leadership qualities, and my ability to drive change. During the interview process, my confidence shone through as I articulated my vision for digitisation and financial inclusion. Impressed by my competence, the hiring committee recognised me as the ideal candidate for the Global Director of Digitisation position. I was thrilled to accept the role, stepping up from my previous position as a Core Banking Systems Manager to a position where I can now lead and support our MFIs (microfinance institutions) in their digital transformation journey.

My promotion to the Global Director of Digitisation is a testament to the impact I had made through my engagement with DFI and the CDFP course. My commitment to advancing financial inclusion through digital innovation caught the attention of decision-makers and am now able to drive change on a much larger scale.

 

Transforming the Community

The impact of the CDFP course extended beyond my personal and professional growth. Armed with newfound knowledge, I actively sought opportunities to contribute to my community’s development. By leveraging digital finance solutions, I played a key role in establishing the Digital Finance Practitioners of Kenya (DFPK), a professional association that brings together digital finance practitioners in Kenya. As the secretary of the association, I coordinated the activities required to establish the DFPK, including engaging with stakeholders, developing a constitution, and defining the association’s objectives.

The DFPK provides a platform for networking, knowledge sharing, and collaboration among digital finance professionals in Kenya. Through the association, members have access to a range of resources that help them stay up to date with the latest trends in digital finance, including training opportunities, research, and industry insights. By empowering digital finance professionals with the tools and resources they need to drive digital transformation in the industry, the DFPK has helped to improve access to financial services for underserved communities, reduce the cost of delivering financial services, and promote financial inclusion.

Setting up the DFPK has been a fulfilling journey that has enabled me to make a meaningful impact in transforming communities in Kenya. As we continue to grow and expand the association, I am confident that we will continue to make a significant contribution toward driving digital transformation in the microfinance industry in Kenya.

 

Navigating challenges.

When I look back at my journey with Digital Frontiers Institute and the Certified Digital Finance Practitioner (CDFP) programme, I can confidently say that it has had a significant impact on my professional growth and development. The course equipped me with the necessary skills and knowledge to navigate the challenges in my industry and community. One of the key challenges I faced was the need to adapt to the rapidly changing digital landscape in the financial services industry. With the CDFP programme, I am able to gain a comprehensive understanding of digital finance, including mobile money, agent banking, and other digital financial services. This knowledge has been crucial in my current role as the Global Director of Digitisation, where I lead and support our Microfinance Institutions in their digital transformation journey. The knowledge and skills I acquired through these courses have been instrumental in addressing the evolving landscape of digital finance.  In my industry and workplace, the courses have provided me with a deep understanding of digital finance concepts, best practices, and regulatory frameworks. This knowledge has empowered me to tackle challenges related to implementing digital finance solutions, such as mobile banking and digitisation, within my organisation. I have been able to leverage the insights gained from the courses to develop strategies, streamline processes, and enhance the overall customer experience. The courses have equipped me with the confidence and expertise to navigate complex organisational challenges, ensuring that my organisation remains competitive and at the forefront of digital innovation.

 

What does the future look like? 

Am not there yet! I have a lot of room to do more, and I feel confident and well-equipped to do more with the knowledge and skills I have acquired. I plan to impact the market and country individually and as part of associations and peer groups through various avenues such as advocacy, influence, market changes, and knowledge dissemination. The courses have equipped me with a comprehensive understanding of the digital finance landscape, enabling me to advocate for supportive policies and regulations. I want to actively engage with policymakers, industry stakeholders, and regulatory bodies to share insights and provide recommendations for creating an enabling environment for digital finance innovation. Through my advocacy efforts, I will contribute to shaping the regulatory framework and fostering an ecosystem that encourages the growth and adoption of digital finance solutions.

Leveraging the knowledge gained from the DFI courses, I will be at the forefront of driving market changes in the digital finance industry. In my current role as Global Director of Digitisation in my organisation, I will continue to play a pivotal role in the development and implementation of innovative products and services that cater to the evolving needs of our customers. By identifying market gaps and opportunities, I plan to introduce transformative solutions that will revolutionise the way financial services are delivered to our underserved communities.

As a member of the DFAK, I will actively share my expertise and insights through various channels such as research papers, talks, blogs, and industry conferences. I am well equipped through the courses at DFI, to author thought leadership articles and research papers, providing valuable insights into the digital finance landscape and its impact on financial inclusion. Through speaking engagements and participation in industry events, I will disseminate knowledge and best practices, inspiring others to embrace digital finance and driving the industry forward.

 

In conclusion, the CDFP programme has had a tremendous impact on my personal and professional growth and has enabled me to contribute positively to my industry and organisation. I am grateful to Digital Frontiers Institute for providing me with this opportunity, and I look forward to continuing to make a difference in the digital finance space.

 

 

By Jacinta Maiyo

VisionFund International

DFI Alumni and Community Member

 

Established in 2015, Digital Frontiers Institute is a proud brand of Digital Frontiers. Learn more about the Certified Digital Finance Practitioner (CDFP) programme and find out how to enrol: https://cdfp.digitalfrontiersinstitute.org/