Nairobi, Kenya – Sixteen credit union staff members from Afya SACCO began innovative training here today as part of a World Council of Credit Unions, Inc. (WOCCU) program seeking to utilize strong credit union networks to address the HIV/AIDS pandemic. The intensive two-week "train the trainers" peer education training will equip participating credit union staff to pass along the knowledge gained during this training to colleagues, and eventually to credit union members.
"HIV/AIDS is the greatest scourge on humanity," said training participant Dionne Mulumba, who works at Afya's headquarters in Nairobi. "Training of trainers is the best opportunity I have to learn on how to save lives of both infected and affected. I am here because I want to make a difference."
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 implementing the program in partnership with WOCCU. 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.
Representatives from Afya SACCO's headquarters and three of its 104 branches are participating in this training and will pilot the peer education program while Afya considers opportunities for expansion. Afya is a closed-bond credit union, serving health care workers throughout Kenya. Funding for this pilot program comes from the Cooperative Development Program administered by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
"The implications of this pilot program are monumental," said WOCCU governmental affairs manager Molly Schar, who is observing the training program on behalf of WOCCU. "Imagine being able to harness the strength of the relationships between staff and members of credit unions embedded in the very communities most affected by HIV/AIDS. Credit unions by their very nature have incredible potential to reach out to their members to educate them, to spur behavior change and to offer a support system for people affected by HIV/AIDS. This program is a crucial first step towards making that vision a reality."
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.