Madison, WI-World Council of Credit Unions Strathmore-WOCCU Management Institute (SWAMI) recently hosted a record number of students at the November session in Nairobi, Kenya. Seventy- two credit union (SACCO) leaders from eight African countries participated in the three-tier credit union certification program.
"The SWAMI program has made an impact in the operations and management of many SACCOs in Kenya. I graduated in June 2006 and my SACCO has implemented most of what I learned based on the SWAMI curriculum," explained Margaret Ngunjiri, finance and administration manager, Jamii SACCO. She continued, "In particular our SACCO has improved in liquidity management. Policies have been developed to cover all operational areas and this assisted the board and management to realize its potential. The introduction of new products has attracted and retained members in the SACCO."
Kenya's Assistant Minister of Cooperatives, Honorable Dr. David Mwenje acted as the keynote speaker at the graduation. Anne Cochran, president and CEO of Louisiana Credit Union League and Rick Myxter of Pennsylvania Credit Union League—two United States credit union leaders involved in the development of the SWAMI program—also spoke at the graduation ceremony, along with World Council staff members Erick Sile, project director and Catherine Ford, CDP manager.
At the end of the week-long program, 18 tier three SWAMI students graduated and joined the growing ranks of SWAMI alumni, earning Certified SACCO Professional (CSP) designation. Out of this graduating class, 12 of the students were managers and six were board members.
Angelica Kiboro, manager of Strathmore's continuing education department shared that the success of the program is seen by the growing attendance of managers and board members, the effectiveness and the value in credit union training is seen in the numbers.
Prior to the graduation all SWAMI students and Alumni were invited to attend the 2nd Semi- Annual Best Practices Session. During this event alumni were invited to present on the application of the CSP skills, by making individual presentations to the group.
Samual Njguna, a SWAMI alum and Kenya Bankers board member explained, "The training from SWAMI has helped not only in my role as a board member but in my day job as well. "WOCCU is making a difference everyday with SWAMI. And like WOCCU you can make a difference in your SACCO, every day."
"The responses we have received from all of the SWAMI graduates and alumni put the importance of this type of program into perspective, not only for Kenya's credit unions leaders but for others throughout Africa," noted Catherine Ford, CDP manager
Some students in all three tiers of the program have been awarded scholarships and travel awards with the assistance of the following donors: CUNA Mutual Foundation, Louisiana Credit Union League, Pennsylvania Credit Union Foundation, American Heritage Federal Credit Union, ILCU International Development Foundation, African American CU Coalition, Southeast Regional Credit Union School (SRCUS), Jim Lykins, and United Nations Federal Credit Union.
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.