NAIROBI, Kenya – The World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) on Nov. 5 launched the seventh Strathmore-WOCCU African Management Institute (SWAMI) for 63 students from nine African nations. The 13-month program, patterned after the Southeast Regional Credit Union School, provides three tiers of learning to its students, 30 of whom will graduate at the close of this week-long session.
“SWAMI is a very international program with students coming from many African countries to complete the course,” said Dr. Ruth Kiraka, director of the Institute of Continuing Education at Strathmore University of Nairobi, the host institution for SWAMI since its founding in 2004. “This is a sign that the curriculum and teaching is attractive to SACCO managers and board members both within Kenya and throughout the African continent.”
SACCO is an acronym often associated with Savings and Credit Co-operatives, the name by which African credit unions are known. Pending legislation in Kenya may make SWAMI certification required for individuals who want to manage the country’s SACCOs, Kiraka said.
SWAMI, developed by WOCCU, Strathmore University and the Louisiana Credit Union League, is designed to prepare SACCO management staff, aspiring managers and board members to handle the challenges SACCOs face in today’s changing environment. SWAMI students who successfully complete all three tiers of the program graduate with a Certified SACCO Professional (CSP) designation and many of the skills needed to help their credit unions grow.
“On the basis of Tier 1’s marketing course, I have been able to increase membership at my SACCO by 15%,” said Shadreck Mutti, a Tier 2 SWAMI student from Zambia Air Force SACCO. “That growth has provided sufficient savings to enable the SACCO to meet member loan demands for the first time.”
In addition to Kenya and Zambia, SWAMI this year has attracted students from Botswana, Ghana, Malawi, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland and Uganda. When this year’s event ends this weekend, 19 of the 30 graduates will receive the CSP designation for completing the managers course. In addition, 11 SACCO board members will complete the SWAMI board leadership program.
Nearly $40,000 in scholarship support was provided to this year’s attendees thanks to funding from a variety of WOCCU supporters. WOCCU’s Cooperative Development Program, which implements SWAMI together with its partner organizations, is supported by funds from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
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 105 countries serve 217 million people. Learn more about World Council's impact around the world at www.woccu.org.