Generous CUs and Foundations Make SWAMI Scholarships Available Across Africa

May 14, 2007

Henock Chakhaza, Sunbird Tourism SACCO (Malawi) general manager, participates in last year's SWAMI training.

Madison, WI—Thanks to generous support from the international credit union system, 40 savings and credit co-operative (SACCO, or credit union) managers and board members will benefit from more than US$40,000 in scholarships to attend the Strathmore-WOCCU African Management Institute (SWAMI) this year in Nairobi, Kenya.

World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) and Strathmore University in Nairobi developed SWAMI, an intensive three-tiered accreditation program, to train SACCO managers, aspiring managers and board members on financial management, products and services, policies and procedures and governance to enhance their abilities to operate and oversee their SACCOs. SWAMI graduates are on the front lines of increasing access to safe and affordable financial services for the underserved throughout Africa.

“Our objectives for 2007 were to streamline the scholarship policies and procedures and to reach our fundraising goal for scholarships, enabling more people to participate in SWAMI,” shared Catherine Ford, WOCCU-CDP manager. “I’m happy to say that we’ve been able to achieve both.”

The following seven credit unions and foundations have made SWAMI tuition and travel scholarships possible in 2007:

  • African American Credit Union Coalition
  • American Heritage Federal Credit Union
  • Irish League of Credit Unions International Development Foundation
  • Maine Credit Union League
  • Pennsylvania Credit Union Foundation
  • Southeastern Regional Credit Union Schools, Inc.
  • United Nations Federal Credit Union

The Louisiana Credit Union League (LCUL) also assists with curriculum development and marketing, and volunteers from LCUL and the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association (PCUA) instruct SWAMI courses. Anne Cochran, LCUL CEO, and Rick Myxter, PCUA assistant vice president, serve on the SWAMI scholarship committee. The United States Agency for International Development provides funding for SWAMI through the Cooperative Development Program.

In just over two years, 68 SACCO professionals from across the continent have graduated from the SWAMI program and returned to their financial institutions with invaluable knowledge and new connections to strengthen the viability and services of their SACCOs.

Henock Chakhaza, Sunbird Tourism SACCO (Malawi) general manager and 2006 SWAMI graduate, explained how his Irish League of Credit Unions scholarship made a difference last year. “It was a great gift to be awarded a scholarship to attend SWAMI at the esteemed Strathmore University,” he said. “The board of directors has more confidence in my presentations now because they know I am a more qualified member of staff, and I am now able to analyze my SACCO using the internationally recognized PEARLS Financial Monitoring System.”

SACCO professionals interested in attending SWAMI classes, June 11-16, 2007, in Nairobi, Kenya, should visit to learn more about the program. For more information on obtaining a tuition or travel scholarship, email scholarship@w

Individuals or organizations interested in sponsoring a SWAMI student can contact Valerie Breunig, Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions manager, vbreunig@woccu.o rg.

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 300+ technical assistance programs in 89 countries. Worldwide, 68,882 credit unions in 109 countries serve 235 million people. Learn more about World Council's impact around the world at

Organization: World Council of Credit Unions
Phone: (608) 395-2000