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Mifos Welcomes Advisor, Deepa Prahalad

Next up, we are thrilled to announce our newest oncoming member of our board of business and technical advisors, Deepa Prahalad. As an advisor, Deepa will be focusing a majority of her time on design, storytelling, and communication in order to build a more tight-knit community around the Mifos Initiative. Deepa believes that paying attention to aspirations can often create a faster adoption and widespread impact which is usually overlooked in the process of making things affordable. What motivated Deepa to become an advisor was the mission behind the Mifos Initiative: “Creating tools for financial inclusion for billions of unbanked and under-banked people around the world”. She believes that this is a crucial part of creating opportunity and prosperity for future generations.

With a political science and economics background, a specific skill-set Deepa plans to bring to the Mifos Initiative is combining the macro-level understanding of trends with deep dives into consumer mindsets and aspirations. Deepa says that “bringing both of these elements directly into the design of an organization’s products and services is what can maximize profit and impact”. Deepa’s deep knowledge in strategy and design will go hand in hand to reach these goals.

When asked about the most critical action we can take to end global poverty, Deepa responded with:

“It’s natural to want to provide ‘solutions’, but most social challenges like poverty are extremely complex.  I think Muhammad Ali made a great point when he said, ‘It’s not the mountains in the distance that wear people down – it’s the pebble in your shoe.’ People are not waiting passively to be ‘saved’, even when they are in desperate circumstances.  They are usually trying to solve their own problems.  A lot of the inequality we see around the world reflects a lack of choices, not a lack of awareness.  The impact that organizations have on society is huge because they expand the range of choices we have.  This is where business can really make the world a better place.”

In the short time we’ve been working with Deepa she’s already stimulated some great ideas and creative strategies to grow our community. One such project that she’s helping us launch is our Mifos 2030 Vision Campaign. We will paint a clear picture of how we envision the world as we see it in 2030 and invite the rest of the community and ecosystem in sharing their own commitment to how they personally can make that vision a reality. We will be formally unveiling it soon but it will be a powerful campaign and strategic vision for our initiative that will tell a powerful story of what we’ve accomplished to date including testimonials from our community, set key milestones and benchmarks our community will aspire to in alignment with the UN SDG of No Poverty by 2030, and establish an actionable roadmap with commitments from partners which will guide our community.

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Mifos Welcomes Advisor, Allison Baller

We are excited to formally announce the newest member of our board of business and technical advisors, Allison Baller. Allison provides the relevant experience and knowledge of the global fintech market to make an immediate impact here at the Mifos Initiative. As a new member of the Mifos Advisory Board, Allison is motivated and passionate about exploring new ways to leverage technology and build innovative business models for financial health which will make a difference globally for the underserved.

A unique skill set Allison hopes to bring to the Mifos Initiative as an advisor is her strong interest and experience with “the customer”, and the ability to develop new business models often with emerging technology and a passion for creating innovative partnerships. Allison has had the opportunity to fine tune these skills from her 2 decades of experience engaging with Banks, Telecommunications companies, and retailers and Fintechs across emerging markets in Latin America, Africa, and Southeast Asia. Allison says that she is “especially excited to engage in some of the Mifos endeavors in Latin America”. That being said, Allison is happy to work on any project in any market as well.

Here’s a bit more on Allison:  Allison serves as the Vice President and Head of Industry Readiness for the FedNow Service, a near real-time payment and settlement service under development by the Federal Reserve Banks to support instant payments in the United States. Baller helps facilitate industry readiness specifically focused on adoption and innovation through partnerships across the ecosystem of Banks, Payment Service Providers, and Fintechs. Prior to joining the Federal Reserve, Baller spent more than two decades at IBM, where she held various global leadership roles in blockchain, cloud, and emerging payments. Her career has focused on building new business models and accelerating the transformation from cash to digital payments across Financial Services, Telecommunications, and Retail.

When asked about the most critical action we can take to end global poverty, Baller responded with this list:

  1. “An ability to foster strong public-private partnerships”
  2. “The need to ensure we develop sustainable business models to support financial health across nations”
  3. “Strong education and marketing communication”
  4. “Incentives to spur new ideas which build upon emerging technology and the latest innovations with open standards on a global platform”

We are eager to work with Allison in executing upon that list and already have a number of projects in mind that she can help to steward including:

  • Sustainability of the initiative by enabling more self-funded revenue derived from the value being created by fintechs across our ecosystem.
  • Development of the ecosystem, especially around the market-readiness of solution providers, with a focus on mobile wallets and payments interoperability
  • Positioning and branding for Mifos Initiative –  translating from our current developer-centric orientation to a narrative that aligns with global funders and partners that could catalyze and support our efforts.

An interesting fact about Allison is that she has always had a passion for exploring new markets and making a difference to improve lives around the world.

“I have many fond memories and I have learned a lot from my experience in diverse countries including Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, the Philippines, Thailand, Cuba, and many others. My love for diverse cultures, languages, and adventure stemmed from spending time studying and exploring Central America, followed by my first “real job” which I held while living in Venezuela in the early 90’s”

Please help in welcoming in Allison to the Mifos Community! We thank her for providing her time and knowledge to help the initiative.

 

 

Mifos Welcomes Fintech Advisor, Ali Hussein Kassim

Ali Hussein KassimWe are pleased to formally announce the newest member of our board of business and technical advisors, Ali Hussein Kassim. Ali is a true visionary in the fintech world and will use his expertise and critical insight into the sector will help shape the ongoing product and community development strategy and advance our sustainability endeavors. Ali wears many hats across the African fintech landscape and has already been advising us and helping connect Mifos with new opportunities throughout 2019.

Connect with Ali on LinkedIn as he’s certain to spark up a through-provoking and insightful conversation with you.

Join us in welcoming Ali; we look forward to his deeper role in helping the ecosystem grow and establish a stronger foothold for Mifos across the African fintech market.

Here’s a bit more on Ali:  Ali is the CEO of FinteXX Technology Ltd, a Pan-African Fintech company that enables the financial ecosystem to utilize digital technologies towards enhancing efficiency, bring innovative financial solutions to the unbanked across the continent and create awareness towards the transformative nature of Financial Technologies. He is also the Principal, AHK & Associates, a Digital Transformation Consultancy focused on enabling clients leverage Digital Technologies to achieve Transformational Change in their organizations. He is also an investor and mentor to startups the Demo Ventures Franchise. Apart from that, he is the immediate former CEO of 3mice interactive media ltd, a Nairobi based pioneer Digital Agency in East Africa and was also the founding CEO of Wunderman (Kenya), a Global Digital top ten Agency, where he successfully implemented the Balanced Scorecard, a management tool for translating strategy into action.

Ali also plays an active role on a number of different boards including:

    • Oversight Board of The Kenya Tourism Promotion Fund, a government agency set up to fund the promotion of tourism in the country
    • Board  of Longhorn Publishers, the leading publishing house in East & Central Africa where he is instrumental in defining the Digital Strategy for the company; 
    • Law Africa, a leading Law Publisher in East Africa 
    • Trustee of the Kenya ICT Action Network (KICTANet)
    • East Africa Advisor, Kinesis.Money, a revolutionary monetary system, based 1:1 on allocated physical gold and silver, bringing back a true store of value to the global economy and rewarding all who participate.
    • Alive & Kicking, a social Enterprise with operations in 3 African countries.. 
    • His board experience also includes  a six year term as board member at the Kenya Network Information Centre, the .ke Registry between 2006-12.

Star Contributor of the Month January 2014 – Steve Thomson

For the month of January 2014 and the first time in two years (wow! it’s shocking how time flies), we’re recognizing our Star Contributor of the Month. The proud honors for this month go to Steve Thomson, whose recognition is long overdue. For 2014, we’re resolved to make sure we recognize our rock-star volunteers and I’m certain we’ll have many to feature as we focus on growing volunteer participation this year.  Read more