Sunday, January 29, 2012

Checking in on the coaches

In addition to the CCA coaches in Ghana, teams are also mentoring SACCOs (savings
and credit co-ops) in Uganda and Malawi.

Here are excerpts from some of those coaches. To read the full posts, click on the link shown, and to link to other coaches’ blogs, use the links at right.

A beautiful beach in Karonga.
Heidi Hyokki, Interior Savings, BC

Well we had another long journey today as we travelled 4 hours north to the city of Karonga. I had no idea how beautiful a drive it was going to be!  You come down a winding road from high in the mountains and as far as the eye can see is this beautiful lake with a white sandy beach bordering its shore.

We stopped in at the Karonga Teacher's SACCO late this afternoon to meet their President and Manageress....they were so warm and welcoming! We are all set now to start work first thing in the morning and they are so excited to be chosen as one of the SACCOS to have Canadian Coaches.....they referred to us as International pressure or anything.....I know we will work really hard the next 2 days to help them in as many ways possible.

Bev and David visit a savings and credit co-op in Malawi.
Bev Maxim, retired, SK, and David Domes, Sanford Credit Union, MB

The day spent with the MUDI Savings and Credit Co-operative (SACCO) on Wednesday was like old home week for us Prairie folk. 

This SACCO has grown from their original location operating out of a 40 foot shipping container into a facility that Dave says is about the size of his credit union office in Manitoba.  The Board, staff and 2,700 members are understandably very proud of this accomplishment and they have had many visitors from near and far.   Mercy, the general manager, invited us to sign the guest book that she keeps (she was surprised and pleased to learn that Bev also keeps a guest book at home).   Looking through the pages of previous visitors it became apparent that the world of co-operatives is indeed small.  We see that many people that have Canadian Prairie roots have walked through the door before us. 

Karen McBride, Concentra Financial, SK

Today Craig, Quay Que (our driver) and I went on the Dodi Princess boat cruise up Lake Volta to Dodi Island and back.  When we got to Dodi Island they gave us 20 minutes to walk on the island. It turned out to be very disturbing because the people from the nearby village come to this part of the island when a boat is coming and all the tiny children follow you along the path, begging for money. They were all in need, but it was not possible to give because there are so many of them and they swarm anyone who takes their wallet out.

What they need is a cooperative that sets up one donation bucket at the dock and then share it among the villagers. They had dancers and singers at the dock so all they needed was to organize themselves so people had a way to give.

When we got to the dock, a fellow we had asked to make us woven bracelets for our family and friends had managed to complete all but about 8 of the 43 we asked him to do. Basically he had to weave the names into the bracelets so I am sure his fingers were ready to fall off! He brought the rest to the hotel tonight...a very nice young man. Tomorrow we are off to Somanya for two days and then back to Accra.  We are looking forward to learning about Somanya Community Credit Union and hoping we can offer them something of value.

Employees at Kebisoni are working hard to improve the lives of members.
Deb Edwards, Coastal Community Credit Union, BC

On Thursday we met with the Kebisoni SACCO to provide our report. The board, management and some staff were in attendance. It was a national holiday however the SACCO was open for the morning and quite busy as we began our report. The board and management were very receptive and appreciated our recommendations. They were pleased to hear we thought they had good leadership and practices.

The real fun began after the meeting concluded. They invited us to drink some pop with them and explained when you are invited to share you are being invited to share in love. It was like being welcomed into their family.

It was a very special day, I feel truly blessed to have shared this experience with warm, caring, individuals. They are in fact a lot like our credit union board and employees. They want to help the members to improve their living.  They want to do it in a caring and thoughtful way, bringing value to the relationship. They want to improve the economic condition of their communities and through their credit union and cooperative lift their families and communities out of poverty and into prosperity.

1 comment:

  1. based in San Francisco and Oakland, California. We specialize in loading up to 4 cars in a one 40' container. We use 4" X 4" or 4" X 6" heat-treated wood beams with chain and heavy duty straps to secure your automobile in the container.
    international shipping container