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How is MMW different?

MMW fills a unique niche in the capacity building marketplace. It does not attempt to replicate the experience offered by international programs such as the Boulder Microfinance Training or the Harvard Business School-ACCION Program on Strategic Leadership in Microfinance.  Nor does it aim to provide the detailed technical guidance that can be found in subject matter courses developed by CGAP, MicroSave and others. Instead, it complements these training programs by creating demand for technical courses and by helping to strengthen the capacity of managers who one day might be able to take advantage of a higher-level international event.

What MMW offers is the following:

* A management perspective. Rather than focus on any technical area in particular, MMW works with participants to improve their planning, organization, leadership and control of all activities that contribute to successful microfinance operations. It exposes participants to multiple options and guides their analysis of those options to identify solutions that address their challenges and opportunities.  This approach helps prepare new managers in particular for the complexity that comes with their jobs.

* Holistic approach. The integrated nature of the MMW curriculum helps managers put their day-to-day operations into a larger institutional and environmental context. They explore how different parts of their institution can help them fulfill their roles and responsibilities, how the work they do can impact others’ ability to function effectively, and how external factors can be managed for more optimal results.

* Decentralized delivery. MMW is delivered at the national level through a network of more than 100 certified trainers and partner institutions in 41 countries. This makes the course more accessible and affordable than most regional and international offerings. It also helps to ensure that the course is delivered by trainers who understand practitioners’ local context and can facilitate discussions that take the opportunities and constraints of the operating environment into account.

* Global perspective. Although delivered at the local level, MMW was created for international use. It supplies tools, strategies and examples of effective practice from around the world and guides participants to learn from the industry’s global experience.

* Multilingualism. The course manual and training materials for Volume I exist in nine different languages and multiple trainers have been certified to deliver the course in each of those languages. Volume II materials are now available in English, Portuguese and Russian and will soon be available in French and Spanish.

* Consistently high quality. Although delivered at the local level by many different trainers, a centralized curriculum, professional materials, and rigorous trainer certification process help to ensure that every delivery covers the same core content and meets specific quality standards.

* Efficiency. MMW covers a lot of content in a short period of time. The intense experience facilitates connections between disciplines and bodies of knowledge that are often thought of only in isolation. The big picture approach helps participants identify how and when more technical training courses can be used to improve performance in specific areas.

* Focus on microfinance. MMW has been described by some as a “mini-MBA”. To the extent that this description applies, what makes MMW different from other management courses that are typically offered at the national level is its focus on microfinance.

* Creative methodology. Although the MMW experience can be intense, participants often comment that a session flew by because they were so engaged with its activities they did not notice the time pass.  The course has been developed using a highly participatory methodology that includes role plays, competitions, self assessments, debates, puzzles, interviews, videos, exercises, panel discussions, content-related energizers and more to keep participants engaged and to facilitate learning.

* Emphasis on application. In each MMW module, participants are invited to apply the frameworks, tools and strategies that are introduced in the classroom to their own institution’s data and challenges. They are also given regular opportunities to record in their action plans any opportunities for change that they identify as well as specific steps that they would like to take or recommend when they return to their institutions.

* Potential for post-course follow up. The action plan can be used as a tool for institutions, supervisors, investors, funding agencies and managers themselves to gauge the amount of learning that takes place during an MMW event, to build consensus around priority areas for improvement, and to take steps or encourage action that results in stronger  performance.