Voluntary Credit Union Supervision Project Underway in Uganda
To document their joint program, the SACCO Voluntary Supervision Project, WOCCU and CCA staff met with a number of SACCO representatives as well as government officials. From left to right, John Julian, CCA; Prof. Ephraim Kamuntu, Uganda's Minister of State for Industry and Technology, Caryn Vesperman, WOCCU, and Fred E.G. Mwesigye, Uganda's Commissioner for Co-operatives.
Madison, WI—World Council of Credit
Inc. (WOCCU) and Canadian Co-operative
Association (CCA) visited Uganda in late January
to document the early stages of their joint
program, the SACCO Voluntary Supervision
The three-year joint project, initiated in
September 2006, works with the Uganda Co-
operative Savings and Credit Union, Ltd.
(UCSCU). Funded entirely from money raised
within the international credit union system,
the program focuses on helping ten Ugandan
SACCOs (credit unions) improve their technical
capacity and financial stability, with the long-
term goal of preparing them for government
regulation. The project also includes
assisting the government in the development of
credit union legislation and regulations.
"The enthusiasm for this project was
said John Julian, international communications
and policy director, CCA, "More than 20 SACCOs
submitted their applications to UCSCU to be a
part of this pilot program and others are coming
forward asking when they can join the project."
While in Uganda, Julian and Caryn Vesperman,
marketing manager, WOCCU, met with credit union
staff and members; Moses Opio Ogal and Wilson
Kabanda, UCSCU's chairman and general manager,
respectively; as well as Prof. Ephraim Kamuntu,
Uganda's Minister of State for Industry and
Technology, and Fred E.G. Mwesigye, Commissioner
for Co-operatives. All agreed that most
Ugandans – 32 percent earning less than $1 a
day – are excluded from financial services
because retail banks do not want to deal with
small accounts, due largely to the expense. One
of the answers discussed was forming user-owned
financial institutions, or SACCOs, that conform
to the international standards of safety and
The project sets up an independent department
within UCSCU to supervise the ten SACCOs and
involves training on WOCCU's financial analysis
software – PEARLS, adoption of auditing
standards and accounting practices consistent
with International Accounting Standards, and the
development of law specifically for the
regulation and supervision of SACCOs.
"Many SACCOs recognize that meeting
and regulatory standards will be to their
benefit," said Vesperman. "They understand they
can't be perceived as a 'briefcase office'
that's here today and gone with the members'
savings tomorrow. They know they need to be run
well and responsible for their members'
Julian and Vesperman documented their visit
video which will debut at WOCCU's World Credit
Union Conference in Calgary, Canada, July 29
through August 1. This is the first joint
project initiated between CCA and WOCCU in 20
years. Both organizations will provide direct
technical assistance through workshops and
training. In addition, CCA will handle in-
country supervision of the project.
CCA is the national association for more than
seven million cooperative and credit union
members. CCA began collaborating with UCSCU in
1989 through a Women's Revolving Loan Fund
project, which helped women in cooperatives
access credit and management training to run
WOCCU's former Uganda project, funded by the
United States Agency for International
Development, ended in 2003. The program
strengthened 14 SACCOs in the central part of
the country so they could provide more than
18,000 members with sustainable access to
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 103 countries serve 208 million people. Learn more about World Council's impact around the world at www.woccu.org.