WASHINGTON, D.C.—The National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF), in partnership with World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU), has launched a new international designation in its popular Development Education (DE) program. The new program, first announced at WOCCU's World Credit Union Conference in Hong Kong, will certify its first class at WOCCU's 2009 World Credit Union Conference, scheduled for July 26-29 in Barcelona, Spain.
Charles Sim, a director with Scotwest Credit Union in Glasgow, Scotland, plans to be among the first to receive this designation. The retired firefighter and longtime credit union volunteer views the new program as a way to promote and enhance global credit union development, as well as further extend the DE program's reach to other countries.
"After seeing WOCCU's field work ‘at coal face,' as we say in Scotland, I value the importance of WOCCU's programs to the developing world," said Sim. "I am looking forward to being in the first group to receive this certification and I've already begun work on my independent study project."
The DE program, which links U.S. credit union advocates with the movement's philosophical roots through interactive group presentations and experiential learning, has always supported credit unions' global initiatives through volunteer projects and international exchanges. Now by formally expanding the U.S. DE program to include international opportunities, the partnership with WOCCU will build on the program's foundation of cooperative values as U.S. DE participants gain more exposure to fellow students and credit union movements from other countries.
"This is a wonderful opportunity for all DE students, past and present, to enhance their philosophical education," said Tom Decker, NCUF's director of social impact management. "It's a logical extension to where the DE program has been. We greatly appreciate WOCCU's continued support in helping direct the program's future on the international front."
International candidates are required to complete four steps to achieve an international DE designation:
1) Complete their local DE program to build a solid foundation.
2) Attend WOCCU's Hispanic Marketing Immersion Program.
3) Attend either WOCCU's World Credit Union Conference, scheduled for next July in Barcelona, Spain,or participate in another country's DE program. In addition the U.S. DE program, other affiliated programs include those operating in the United Kingdom, in the Philippines and through the Association of Asian Confederation of Credit Unions, WOCCU's Asian affiliate organization headquartered in Thailand.
4) Complete an independent studies project appropriate to the learning objectives of the same programs.
WOCCU expects the relationship to foster greater awareness of the impact of credit unions worldwide, explained Pete Crear, the organization's president and CEO. Greater exposure of DE students to the global credit union movement will enhance their educational opportunities and foster international credit union support and growth as well, he said.
"We're delighted to be joining with NCUF in support of this new program," Crear said. "Our goal has always been to build bridges among global credit union movements and we're pleased to have so many enthusiastic emissaries to help us in our mission going forward."
WOCCU has been a long-time supporter of NCUF and its DE program. The program has received additional support from the Credit Union National Association and CUNA Mutual Group.
For information on the international DE program, visit www.ncuf.coop or contact Tom Decker at (800) 356-9655, ext. 4374.
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, 51,000 credit unions in 100 countries serve 196 million people. Learn more about World Council's impact around the world at www.woccu.org.