MFT Training Program

Module 1: Introduction and Setting the Stage

The objective of this module is to introduce participants to the program content, methods, tools, process, requirements for the Certificate, and general expectations. Participants will also have the opportunity to introduce themselves and set tone of learning from peers.

Faculty: Robert Christen


Module 2: Organizing our Response to the COVID Pandemic

This module distils the lessons learned throughout the COVID Pandemic by the 20 authors who submitted short articles on their experiences.  These articles were submitted by leading organizations, including BRAC Bangladesh, CARD Bank, Grooming Center, Fondo Esperanza, and by number of other authors reflecting on the experiences of MFIs with whom they have worked quite closely.  This module lays out the critical issues we will be focusing on for the duration of the program.

Faculty:  Robert Christen and Anup Singh 


Module 3: Risk Management and the Financial Lives of the Poor

This module is designed by the MicroInsurance Centre at Milliman (MIC@M) for the Boulder Online Program 2021. The key to developing effective risk management solutions for low-income groups to help them both manage their risks and ultimately build wealth, is first to understand their risk profiles, needs, and demands.

Participants of this course will be introduced to the financial lives of the poor via self-guided readings, videos, and activities. During the live session, participants will come together with the instructor to discuss and do activities on the topic of “Risk Management 360,” an approach to risk management that provides a holistic solution to a risk faced by customers. This module will serve as an important precursor to the forthcoming design modules in the program.

Faculty:   Michael McCord  


Module 4: Building Customer-Centric Digital Solutions

Join us on a journey where we design digital finance solutions following a customer-centric approach.  We will apply human-centered design inspired methodologies to learn more about customers, gain insights, design, and deliver solutions. Financial service providers continue to face challenges like retention, use of products, and acquisition of more customers.  Evidence suggests that client centricity is central to the emerging business model inclusive of digital transformation and driving meaningful financial inclusion and addressing these challenges.

The course will explore how an FSP can facilitate higher activity and retention rates and thus higher usage of its products. Targeted at practitioners (FSPs) and technical service providers that support FSPs the course will address the customer and business challenges in financial inclusion, particularly illustrating digital solutions.  You will apply your learning to design and demonstrate a mobile phone application to solve a real-world customer challenge.

Faculty: Gerhard Coetzee 


Module 5 & 6: Using data for customer centric financial solutions – exploring utility of quantitative and qualitative data for product design!

A practical module that builds on previous modules and offer participants an opportunity to use data analytics to build data-driven customer solutions through a simulation. Using publicly available data, participants will set the criteria to segment the market, choose a target market, scope the market size, and identify a useful and representative persona. Once a persona is developed using simulated case study data, the participants will have an opportunity to use Human Centred Design (HCD) tools to validate and complement the publicly available survey data and answer the “WHY” by interacting with the persona.

Participants will choose tools, practice using them on real people – chosen through the persona lens and analyse the data collected through HCD tools. Throughout the process, participants will be supported as they iterate, and use all the data at their disposal (quantitative and qualitative), to synthesize and triangulate, pulling the themes that lead to customer responsive product design. In the final session, participants will present the solution they developed for their persona. The module explores the power of combining survey data with qualitative HCD data to influence and inspire customer solutions.

Faculty: Petronella Chigara and Stephen Peachey  


Module 7: Managing Staff during Challenging Times – Keeping Staff Motivated

This module will look into the following questions, and bring up appropriate responses: (i) What is the Impact of COVID-19 on staff; (ii) What were the steps taken by MFIs to ensure the health and safety of their staff members?; (iii) How did staff manage the COVID-19 issues amid moving around to disburse and collect?; (iv) Incentives to staff during COVID times – what works and what does not?; and (v) what is the impact of COVID-triggered digitization on job security of staff members?

Faculty: Anup Singh and Martin Holtmann


Module 8 & 9: Managing performance during times of stress

Should a financial institution aim for social results? Should an entity with a social mission be profitable? Can an MFI achieve financial and social performance at the same time?

In the last few years, such discussions have triggered a need for a deeper analysis on MFIs’ governance structures and their capacity to find the right balance between financial and social goals. Similarly, the lessons learned from the crises experienced by several microfinance markets in the past have urged the systematic assessment of social performance management and responsible practices when assessing the long-term viability of MFIs.

This module focuses on how to interpret the main components of an MFI’s financial and social performance, but also on whether the two can be compatible with each other. This discussion is especially relevant during times of stress, as we have been experiencing globally since the beginning of 2020.

A combination of webinars, readings, live sessions, and case studies will be used to achieve the module’s objectives. The intended audience for this module includes executives, managers, and board members of MFIs, as well as representatives of regulators, investors/asset managers, development institutions and international networks.

Faculty: Evrim Kirimkan and Aldo Moauro


Module 10: Strategic Direction for a Future Beyond COVID

The financial sector landscape is changing rapidly with the rise of disruptive innovators, digitization and big data technology. These developments spur competition and bring complexity to the sector, while also providing opportunities for creative partnerships between traditional microfinance providers and new entrants. These new partnerships have the potential to both enhance financial services and reduce operational costs.

COVID-19 has accelerated these trends, as delivery of financial services offers the potential to manage COVID-19-related risks, maintain operations and provide uninterrupted services, support customer ability to transact during lockdowns, and minimize in-person interactions and the potential spread of the virus through exchanging cash.

This course is designed to equip microfinance practitioners – both those with and without formal seniority/decision-making authority – with tools for strategic planning at institutional and individual levels. Combining technical skills with personal leadership tools, we will work to address issues relevant to you and your institution and better enable you to respond effectively in your market.

Faculty: Momina Aijazuddin