MANILA, Philippines — The 2nd Digital Financial Inclusion Awards (DFIA) will again recognize the country’s outstanding microfinance institutions (MFIs) and microentrepreneurs for their achievements in digitalization.
The DFIA is a financial inclusion program funded by Citi Foundation, in partnership with the Microfinance Council of the Philippines Inc. (MCPI) and supported by the Bangko ng Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).
The virtual launch of the program was led by BSP Gov. Felipe Medalla, Citi Philippines CEO Paul Favila and MCPI Chairperson Gilbert Maramba.
“This awards program gives us the venue to highlight our inclusive digital finance agenda and microfinance advocacy. Not to mention, all the inspiring stories that we saw and heard when the awards were given,” Medalla said.
MFI winners will be chosen based on the types of digital solutions they have adopted, measurable results on the use of digital solutions and institutional/client benefits of digitalization. Microentrepreneurs, meanwhile, will be nominated by the MFIs based on their success stories as microentrepreneurs, the types of digital solutions used, and measurable results on the use of digital solutions.
The National Selection Committee is composed of representatives from the government, business sector, media and academia, and is co-chaired by heads of the BSP and Citi Philippines. They will select four MFIs and 20 microentrepreneurs as Digital Champions for the 2nd DFIA.
The program includes learning exchanges and technical assistance for MFIs as part of MCPI’s awareness and readiness campaign.
“Citi and Citi Foundation are committed to investing in financial inclusion initiatives that help create economically vibrant and resilient communities,” Favila said.
“The DFIA supports the financial inclusion objectives of the government and empowers low-income individuals to become financially independent. The program is focused on strengthening financial inclusion through digitalization in Philippine microfinance.”
The program aims to inspire other microentrepreneurs and MFIs to embark on their own digitalization journey that will ultimately lead to business growth and livelihood opportunities for many Filipinos.
“Digitalization played a big role in the survival of MFI clients and the microfinance sector during the early months of the pandemic. Aside from using digital platforms for loan disbursements and collection, we were able to provide non-financial services to clients such as training and telemedicine through digital technologies,” Maramba said.
The DFIA program is an evolution of the Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards that enables Citi Foundation and MCPI to continue raising awareness about the importance of microentrepreneurship and microfinance in supporting the financial inclusion and economic empowerment of low-income individuals.