More than 150 participants from 10 African countries have registered for MFTOT6 in Moodle, as part of a total 500 participants taking part in the microfinance distance learning course. The Africa course is being offered as a partnership between the African Development Bank and Tokyo Development Learning Center.
Featuring a blended approach of self-paced study using the Microfinance Distance Learning package developed by UNCDF, online tutoring and e-discussion, and four video conference sessions with webcasting to listen to and interact with international experts, the course was kicked off on Thursday as Laurent Porte, GDLN Coordinator for World Bank Africa, moderated the opening session from Washington, DC.
After words of welcome and introductions of participants at each site, TDLC Manager Ryu Fukui gave opening remarks, thanking the Asian Development Bank Institute for their unchanged commitment to the course since the beginning, allowing for the expansion of coverage to African countries despite the fact that the region is outside their direct constituency.
Fukui also thanked the African Development Bank for accepting sponsorship for African participants. “The partnershp we’ve realized is truly innovative for the benefit of training recipients in African countries,” he said. He prompted participants to enjoy the different “blended learning” tools and media, and called for active participation and feedback.
He stressed also that MFTOT offers opportunities to form ‘community of practices,’ a well-organized, basic course on microfinance also serving as such a community platform. “Please exploit the human networks, consisting of experts, practitioners, donors, policy makers, within your country and across countries. It is largely up to creativitiy in local GDLN centers and participants themselves how to use this platform.”
Senior Financial Sector Specialist, CGAP Eric Duflos, connecting from Paris, then went on to provide a slide presentation; “Microfinance and the Global Crisis”, followed by Q&A and discussion.
Practical matters such as blended distance learning, rules of study, Moodle and other administrative issues were explained, and discussions continued—until almost midnight in Tokyo, due to the time difference. And thus, the ambitious learning opportunity has begun.