Cooperative Spirit Brings Malawi and Missouri Together
MCUA hosts African delegation as part of World Council program
ST. LOUIS, Mo. — In pursuit of providing better service to credit union members, six representatives from the Malawi Union of Savings & Credit Co-operatives Ltd (MUSCCO) last week traveled 8,600 miles to meet with their global peers at the Missouri Credit Union Association (MCUA). As a first step toward a partnership fostered by the World Council of Credit Unions, MCUA hosted the group from Malawi's savings and credit cooperatives (SACCOs), or credit unions, with the hope of gaining greater knowledge of each other's credit union systems.
Mike Beall, MCUA president and CEO (center), welcomes delegates from Malawi, including (left to right) Albert Moyo, Mzimba Teacher's SACCO; Charles Nyekanyeka, Bvumbwe Community SACCO; Sylvester Kadzola, MUSCCO; Beall; Faith Manganda, MUSCCO; Brian Chyuse, Fodya SACCO LTD and Itai Msiska, Karonga Teachers SACCO.
The goal of the May 5-16 visit was to establish education and networking opportunities between MCUA and MUSCCO, soon to be one of 18 relationships managed by World Council's International Partnerships Program. The program's purpose is to foster the sharing of information and technology between state and national organizations and their counterparts in developing countries for the economic wellbeing of credit union members across the globe, according to Brian Branch, World Council president and CEO.
"We very much appreciate MCUA's participation in the International Partnerships Program and their role in hosting the MUSCCO delegation," said Branch. "The two organizations have a great deal of information to share for the mutual benefit and development of more comprehensive and effective member services."
The visitors, led by World Council Director Sylvester Kadzola, CEO of MUSCCO, represented five credit unions from three districts in Malawi. During their stay, group members participated in Missouri's state credit union foundation conference, visited local credit union branches, were recognized by the Missouri General Assembly in Jefferson City, and traveled to Washington, D.C., for a Credit Union National Association briefing and a meeting with the National Credit Union Administration.
"It's astonishing how two leagues serving different countries and continents can mutually assist each other by sharing philosophies, best practices and ideas," said Mike Beall, MCUA president and CEO. "We are proud to share a partnership with our friends in Malawi to strengthen the international spirit of cooperation."
When asked what they will take back from their experience with MCUA, the Malawians cited as key learning outcomes fostering collaboration among credit unions to realize economies of scale, standardizing reporting techniques, sharing back-end analysis on quarterly reports and implementing financial literacy programs to better educate members on credit union products and services. The visit constituted the inaugural meeting of the two partnering organizations. A delegation from Missouri and World Council will travel to Malawi in early 2013 to sign the partnership agreement make the partnership official.
"The visit has been truly inspirational and educational, and the delegation from Malawi is going back with renewed confidence and optimism of the enormous benefits that will accrue to the Malawi SACCO movement from this partnership," says Kadzola. "We see tremendous growth and financial services diversification and sophistication ahead of us as a result of this partnership."
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.
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Contact: Rebecca Carpenter
Organization: World Council of Credit Unions