by Paula Hunter on July 30, 2020
Last week, we held the first Mojaloop Community Meeting since our Foundation’s official launch on May 6th. During the well-attended virtual event, I had the opportunity to share some updates that I would now like to pass along to readers of our blog.
Launching the Foundation
When we launched in May, we filed our paperwork with the United States Internal Revenue Service to become a registered U.S. non-profit. While it usually takes about six months for the approvals, Mojaloop Foundation received notice that it was approved on July 7th – far sooner than expected. Holding legal non-profit status is an important part of the Foundation’s structure, as it allows us to accept grants and provides credibility. Our team is very excited about this critical milestone.
The Foundation launched with six initial sponsors who collaborated with us to accelerate digital payments in emerging economies. They include: the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Coil, Google, Modusbox, Omidyar Network, and The Rockefeller Foundation. Together, our collective goal remains to increase financial inclusion by empowering those organizations that are creating interoperable payment systems to enable digital financial services for all. These six companies are mission-aligned and technologically-aligned with the Foundation and will help us operate and oversee our governance.
After being relatively quiet for the first three+ years of the Mojaloop project, we have also turned on the spigots of social media, including the activity on this blog. Until recently, we had not been actively using LinkedIn or Twitter, but I’m pleased that our sponsor members and community have begun to engage with us via these channels. We know how important the social community will be to our mission and to helping us get the word out about the Mojaloop Foundation to the broadest set of recipients.
A Global Initiative for Good
The Foundation operates as a charitable organization and maintains the open source software as a public good in service of financial inclusion. We are not in the business of selling anything, rather we are in the business of global education, advocacy, and enablement of Mojaloop.
As many know, the project has been very focused on Africa for the last several years. As we grow, our hope is to see the Mojaloop platform deployed around the world, wherever it can directly impact financial inclusion. In addition to the traction we have made on the continent of Africa, since launching we’re delighted to have fielded inquiries out of Asia, Indonesia, South America, the United States and Europe.
Our intention is to engage at a global level with digital financial service providers, regulators, NGOs, and governmental offices, looking to address the critical challenge faced by local underserved communities. Widespread engagement of this scale can’t be managed alone. It will require the Foundation to reach out to the entirety of the Mojaloop community, to leverage their relationships and staff that are already on the ground talking to our target organizations on a regular basis. We want to make sure that we help provide the tools and the messaging needed to explain the benefits of Mojaloop to these constituencies.
The Technical Governing Board
The Foundation has a Technical Governing Board (TGB), which is currently chaired by Miller Abel of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and includes Adrian Hope-Bailie of Coil, JJ Geewax of Google, and Warren Carew of Modusbox. The charter of the TGB is to plan and oversee the technical work conducted within the organization. The goal of the TGB is to ensure diversity of perspectives and approaches regarding the technical work at hand and to make decisions regarding technical direction, such as code release decisions, standards, document approvals, authorization of code maintainers, etc.
The TGB is dependent on the community to articulate how it wants to manage its own activities, just as it has for the last four years. With the TGB, we are not changing how the Mojaloop community works, but we are adding a leadership structure that will be looking at our strategic direction from a technical standpoint and providing guidance to the community at large. The TGB delegates would welcome the opportunity to hear from members of the community and are open and available to answer any questions or address concerns.
The Marketing Steering Group
Meeting soon, there will also be a new Marketing Steering Group (MSG) for the Foundation. The group’s proposed charter is to engage and leverage the collective wisdom of the community and to ensure clear and strong alignment between the overall Mojaloop Foundation goals and strategy, and marketing communications deliverables and plans. It will enable sponsor level member companies to provide input on the direction of the strategic marketing communications of the Foundation, but also tap into the business and market knowledge of the community to provide direction and content to our staff.
We believe that the Mojaloop community, at its broadest, consists of more than 600 people, all of whom have the collective wisdom and perspective of what is happening in local markets worldwide. Each member of this community can help us to fine tune our messaging and, hopefully, assist in the development and production of content.
The MSG will have two co-chairs, which can be filled by Sponsor level member companies. Promoter level member companies may participate with no restrictions. We’ll be meeting on a regularly agreed upon schedule and will provide updates to the board of directors on a quarterly basis. If you are interested in helping us spread the word about Mojaloop, contact me directly.
So now that the Mojaloop Foundation is a legal entity, what will change?
First, we’ll probably see some new members joining. In fact, over the next few weeks we’ll be announcing new board members, TGB delegates, and participating members to the Mojaloop Foundation. We’ll also be focusing on providing additional support for the community, developing tools and educational materials designed to promote Mojaloop and reduce barriers to its acceptance. All of this content, in a wide range of formats from webinars to blogs to video, are well underway from a planning standpoint and we hope to start rolling out some of those support elements soon.
You’ll also see an increased emphasis on accelerating deployments. If there is anything that I, the Mojaloop Foundation or our board delegates can do to help shorten a deployment cycle, please don’t hesitate to contact us and seek that support. We want to do everything we can to remove barriers, to address any concerns and help to deploy Mojaloop out into the marketplace.
Finally, I want to say that we miss you all. I wish that the meeting last week could have been face-to-face and while we will not be making any official announcements with regard to October yet, we all know that the situation is quite tenuous as far as travel is concerned. We will continue to monitor and will give you an update on the October plans within the next few weeks.
In the meantime, we wish our entire global Mojaploop community good health and well-being in the coming weeks.