Madison, WI—More than 40 Liberian credit union directors and staff attended a two-day training workshop last month sponsored and conducted by World Council of Credit Unions, Inc., in Monrovia, Liberia.
World Council business development manager, Jamie Raile, and a Malawian credit union consultant, Robert Mbeza, facilitated the workshop. Sessions included training on model credit union building, savings mobilization, governance and World Council's PEARLS financial performance monitoring system.
Credit union directors and staff from 18 credit unions, along with officials from the Liberian Cooperative Development Agency, Liberian Credit Union National Association (LCUNA) and the United Nations Development Programme, attended the training. Dozens of credit unions were established in Liberia in the 1970s and 1980s around the "traditional" model of credit unions, but much of that system was destroyed due to the decade long civil war and conflict. Many of the workshop participants received training for the first time at the workshop. They were enthusiastic and involved, despite the heat and a noisy generator used to power the computer for PowerPoint presentations.
Otto G. Lombaye, co-chairman of Gbeh Community Credit Union, traveled over seven hours by road to attend the workshop. He said he was very pleased with the training and thanked World Council for coordinating it.
"Since we organized our credit union, we have never gone through this type of workshop, and I believe because of this training our credit union will improve," Lombaye said. "The war in our country disrupted the operations of the credit unions, and their performance went down. Right now we are working towards rebuilding the credit unions, so this training—and more of such training programs in the future—are going to help a lot."
In addition to participants' enthusiasm to take what they had learned back to their credit unions, LCUNA invited all credit union chairpersons to attend a meeting the following Saturday to discuss revitalizing the national association.
The workshop resulted from a World Council assessment and visit in May conducted by Raile and Brian Branch, chief operating officer. World Council is currently seeking donor funding to create a comprehensive project to provide training and technical assistance to Liberia's credit unions, its national association and government regulators.
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.