MADISON, Wis. (6/17/14)--The first Africa Credit Union Development Education program was recently completed in Nairobi, Kenya.
Graduates of the first Africa Development Training with staff in Nairobi, Kenya. (National Credit Union Foundation photo)
The Africa DE program was organized by the African Confederation of Cooperatives Savings and Credit Associations (ACCOSCA) in partnership with the National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF), along with the World Council of Credit Unions and National Cooperative Business Association (NCBA), with the aim of fostering cooperative values among the leaders in the African credit union system.
"It is amazing to see the ripple effect of NCUF's DE program to strengthen credit unions around the world, particularly with this new DE program in Africa," said Lois Kitsch, NCUF program director and co-facilitator of Africa DE. "Not only did George and others bring lessons learned around credit union and cooperative values back to their respective organizations after completing NCUF's DE program, but now they helped instill it in others throughout Africa, who will do the same at their organizations."
The Africa DE program was inspired and co-created by four African graduates of NCUF's DE Training in the United States, known as Credit Union Development Educators (CUDEs). The Nairobi program was primarily convened and led by George Ombado from ACCOSCA in Kenya with assistance from Victor Botha from the Sibanye Cape SACCO Ltd. in South Africa, Sylvester Kadzola from the Malawi Union of Savings and Credit Cooperatives in Malawi, and Elkanah Odembo from the World Council of Credit Unions in Kenya.
This first Africa DE Program joins seven other international DE programs, which are based in Asia, Australia, the Caribbean, Europe, Great Britain, the Philippines and the United States. They too were started by graduates of the NCUF program.
In Africa, credit unions are known primarily as Savings and Credit Co-operatives (SACCOs). The Africa DE Training was made up of 36 senior SACCO managers from 13 different countries. All graduates made it their personal responsibility to be DE ambassadors in their respective countries upon their return. One of the attendees commented that the "DE program is a program every [African] co-operator must attend."
"ACCOSCA recognizes that SACCO's around Africa are at different level of development and as such, we will use this new DE Program to enhance SACCO's growth with a common agenda and purpose to the co-operators attending," said Ombado.
Ombado is already in planning for the next Africa DE Program to take place in South Africa early next year.
In addition to the African participants and organizers, there were many Americans at Africa DE. Facilitating the program were Kitsch from NCUF and Mike Beall from the National Cooperative Business Association. Three of the six Africa DE mentors included Kathy Chartier, president/CEO, Members CU, Cos Cob, Conn., with $28 million in assets; Chad Helminak, Web and member development strategist for the Wisconsin Credit Union League; and Joanne Todd, president/CEO Northeast Family FCU, Manchester, Conn, with $72 million in assets.
Other U.S. participants in the program included Lisa Brown, president, Tallahassee-Leon FCU, with $43 million in assets; Nancy Johns, branch manager, American Airlines FCU, Fort Worth, Texas, with $5.5 billion in assets and Jim Morrell, president/CEO Peninsula Community CU, Shelton, Wash., with $148 million in assets.