Eight Fair Digital Finance Accelerator 2023 grants awarded to Consumers International Members

31 July 2023

Consumers International is delighted to announce that nine Members from low- and middle-income countries are to be awarded funding to implement projects and interventions for fair digital finance.

The Fair Digital Finance Accelerator has launched a grant programme, to support Members of the Accelerator to carry out activities which raise consumer concerns around digital finance in local and national dialogues, generate unique insights, and deliver innovative programmes supporting vulnerable and underserved communities.   

A new phase for the Fair Digital Finance Accelerator

To turn our Consumer Vision for Fair Digital Finance into action, in 2022 Consumers International founded the Fair Digital Finance Accelerator. Bringing together consumer advocates from over 60 countries and counting, the Accelerator strengthens digital finance regulation and solutions, builds engagement with governments and stakeholders, and empowers consumer advocates to champion a safe, fair, data protected and sustainable digital finance marketplace.

For the first time in 2023, winning members will be supported by direct financial grants, helping them to deepen their impact and scale innovative ideas for fair digital finance.

"We saw that our Members were playing a crucial role in empowering consumers, raising awareness and advocating for important issues in their respective jurisdictions, but often lacked resources to sustain, innovate or scale their interventions. The Fair Digital Finance Accelerator grants will support members to strengthen consumer protection within the volatile digital finance marketplace. It will foster collaborative policy and digital finance industry changes and generate learnings across the Network to ensure a safer and fairer digital finance marketplace for all." 

Sheila Senfuma, Head of Programme-Digital Finance, Consumers International

The grants are made available by our partners in the Fair Digital Finance Accelerator: the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Read more here. 

Introducing the winning campaigns

This year our members will run eight projects across four continents, with grantees finding innovative ways of driving change at the national level, through new systems, tools and insights which help make fair digital finance accessible to consumers everywhere.

This year's projects share three major themes:

1. Scaling original consumer data collection and insights

Digitalisation has transformed how we access our finance and the way we interact with those providing the services. Understanding this evolving consumer experience is central to designing systems that protect consumers from the outset. To influence regulatory and industry changes, consumer advocates require robust and granular data. 

  • Citizen Consumer and Civic Action Group (India) in Tamil Nadu, India will survey vulnerable and disadvantaged consumer groups – in particular, women, youth, and people with disabilities – to generate insights and evidence on the specific needs of these groups.
  • Consumers Fiji will use their complaints collection systems to monitor consumer issues relating to digital financial services, identifying emerging consumer protection hotspots.
  • Consumers Lebanon will identify digital finance risks and challenges for consumers via online and physical surveying, while The Network (Pakistan) will collect consumer experience data via a mixed methods approach.

2. Building innovative consumer complaints and disputes systems.

Highly trusted by consumers in their country or region, independent consumer organisations are well placed to establish consumer complaints and dispute resolutions systems. These systems directly support consumers in need, help generate consumer insights, and provide an evidence base for advocacy activities.

  • The National Federation of Consumer Associations of Ivory Coast will create an online complaints resolution system to generate consumer feedback on the challenges they experience with digital finance solutions.
  • The National Consumer Association (St Lucia) will launch an online dispute resolution website to make complaints easier and more affordable for micro value finance consumers. Once the site is up and running it will be extended across the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) region in 2024-2025.

3. Advancing strategic policy and stakeholder advocacy.  

All eight projects and interventions will involve direct advocacy to regulatory, policy and business stakeholders to improve the provision of digital financial services for consumers. By improving regulatory and industry structures, we can foster and accelerate a new marketplace where safety, accessibility, and data protection in digital financial services is guaranteed.  

  • Kenya Consumer Organisation and Youth Education Network (Kenya) are partnering to create a set of transparency guidelines which will be presented in dialogues with service providers and regulators in order to make mobile money contracts more transparent.  
  • Tec-Check A.C. (Mexico) will analyse the challenges consumers face within the current regulatory framework, with the aim of putting the consumer perspective at the centre of the country-level dialogue on the implementation of the Mexican Financial Technology Act. 

Support our Members and learn more

We want to hear updates on the actions our Members and others are taking to promote fair digital finance in your country or region. Email us fdfa@consint.org or follow us on Twitter and Facebook  for regular Fair Digital Finance Accelerator updates.