Welcome to the Canadian Co-operative Association's international development blog devoted to the Uganda/Malawi and Ghana coaching programs taking place in January 2011. With volunteers working on the frontline of development, experience the missions through their photos, words and videos.
Monday, January 31, 2011
Goodbye to Fodya - Blake Reynolds - Malawi
Erin and Blake with Fodya board of directors
We ended our work day back at the MUSCCO offices chatting with Swanzie about youth programs.They have a clean slate, but are hoping to explore youth savings clubs (very successful in Ghana), as well as potential financial literacy programs for schools and leadership camps to help educate young people about co-operatives and SACCOs.There are many different programs across the country, so my goal is to put these people if possible in touch with Swanzie or at least point her in the right direction.It’s neat to see how the “co-operative and credit union movement” can so easily and effectively cross borders!
Brian and Erin at the Fodya SACCO
We walked back to the branch and said our good byes to Rita and Brian.Brian coyly explained that he was not there yesterday because his wife gave birth to their second son!He proudly showed off pictures of his wife and sons, Wisdom and Wonderful, and it made more a bit more sad to leave all the people at this wonderful SACCO.
Wa success stories - Cory Munden - Ghana
Week one of the CCA/Ghana partnership is now complete. My first assignment was for a credit union in the upper Ghana region called Wa Community Credit Union. The trek to get to Wa took about 14 hours in a truck which was donated by CCA. Our driver Calistus, who is from the Wa region got us safely to our destination. I was partnered with a manger from the Cork region of Ireland. Barry was a second year coach who traveled to the Cape Coast region of Ghana in 2010.
Upon visiting our first credit union I was surprised to learn they had over 9000 members and was a flagship operation for micro-financing. They assisted members in small loans to start businesses, become farmers, or other activities to generate income. The loans ranged in size from 5 cidi (about 3$ cdn) to 10,000 cidi. We had the opportunity to visit a small business in which a woman was given a very small amount in a loan to buy some merchandise for a store. Today she employees some staff and has a very successful business.
What is very impressive is that all of the micro loans have been paid back with no defaults, assisting many people. It is examples like Wa community credit union that demonstrate the true social development that credit unions should be involved in. They see the value added of assisting a member, which in turn stimulates a community. They truly practice the co-operative principles.