Madison, WI—World AIDS Day, held on December 1, serves to focus global attention on the devastating impact of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Observance of this day provides an opportunity for governments, national AIDS programs, churches, community organizations and individuals to demonstrate the importance of the fight against HIV/AIDS.
Through a unique credit union development program the World Council of Credit Unions is conducting a pilot peer educator program with Mwalimu Savings and Credit Co-Operative Societies (SACCO) in Kenya.
The Mwalimu SACCO (credit union)was a natural choice to participate in the Peer to Peer education program, with its membership being made up of 44,000 secondary teachers throughout Kenya. Catherine Ford, World Council's Cooperative Development Program manager, shared, "Who better than teachers to educate credit union members and the community."
Upon completion of the course, participants will be required to train a minimum of five colleagues before becoming certified in HIV/AIDS peer education by JHPIEGO, the non-profit health organization affiliated with Johns Hopkins University that is implementing the program in partnership with World Council. The training course includes segments on presentation skills, as well as basic facts about HIV/AIDS, comprehensive HIV/AIDS care and prevention, assessing HIV/AIDS risk and behavior change. Funding for this pilot program comes from the Cooperative Development Program administered by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
Ford continued, "Credit unions by their very nature have the potential to help their communities, they have the ability to reach out to their members, to educate them and change behavior. This program is a crucial first step towards making that vision a reality."With an estimated 38.6 million people worldwide living with HIV at the end of 2005, and more than 25 million people having died of AIDS since 1981, December 1st serves to remind everyone that action makes a difference in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
World Council of Credit Unions is the global trade association and development agency for credit unions. World Council promotes the sustainable development of credit unions and other financial cooperatives around the world to empower people through access to high quality and affordable financial services. World Council advocates on behalf of the global credit union system before international organizations and works with national governments to improve legislation and regulation. Its technical assistance programs introduce new tools and technologies to strengthen credit unions' financial performance and increase their outreach.
World Council has implemented more than 290 technical assistance programs in 71 countries. Worldwide, 57,000 credit unions in 103 countries serve 208 million people. Learn more about World Council's impact around the world at www.woccu.org.