Welcome to CCA’s international development blog page devoted to the Uganda/Malawi Coaching program. Enjoy the sights and sounds, the people and places as experienced by 3 credit union volunteers on the frontline of development.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Three Bloggers - Week 2

Charlie - Day # (I don't remember - lost track)

We just completed another day - I think its been a couple days since I last posted - yesterday we were at Kashongi SACCO for one day then today we were at SACCO #4 called the Kiragama Farmers SACCO - too tired to provide much in the way of details so I’m going to take the easy (picture) way out. We check out in the morning - do another half day at Kiragama - and then take off for Queen Elizabeth National Park (Google that) for a 2 day Team R and R (all 6 members of Team U will be there). I’m fairly certain there will be no internet access there so next time I post will likely be Saturday morning when we get back to Kampala.  Here’s a few pictures from our Kashongi visit. Bye for now.

Brad - Fincoop Day 2

This morning at Fincoop we met with Moses Nyamwera their IT Manager. Bruce and I already knew Moses from our time in Karonga last year where he was working he had just moved to Lilongwe in December. We kidded him that he had heard that Bruce and I were coming back to Malawi to work with Fincoop and he had to get a job with Fincoop because he missed us. Actually his wife is a nurse working at one of the government hospitals and he followed her to Lilongwe.  We worked with Moses for part of the morning; since he is busy with his banking system conversion he didn't have a lot of time. We then met with the Internal Auditor Andrew Tembo who is new to the position but is very knowledgeable in the audit field.

After lunch we had a little time to kill so we went back to the hotel for a few minutes and then ventured out to the store so Bruce could support the Malawi tobacco growers. I also took the opportunity to exchange some dollars to Kwacha man do you feel rich when you get MK 17,000 in bills. On the way back to Fincoop Joseph Banana tried to sell Bruce a painting or two, yes his name was Joseph Banana and he wore a yellow vest.  With tomorrow being a holiday we will have to find something blog worthy to do, stay tuned.

Robert - Day 2 at MBC SACCO

Paul and I spent our second day with Abigail and her team at the MBC SACCO. I've included some photos with this entry so you can see what the branch looks like (both inside and out). The branch shares the premises with two other organizations: The MUSCCO Regional Office and FINCOOP's Blantyre branch.  The branch has a cashier station, an area where the accountant works, Abigail's office (which houses the entrance to the cash vault) and a large board room that doubles as a back office room. The branch is a decent size, relatively speaking, but the layout of the branch is a little awkward. Paul and I worked our way through a mountain of documentation today (financial statements, policies, procedures, meeting minutes, etc.) to learn more about how MBC SACCO operates and to try to identify some areas where we could make recommendations to assist them.

While there are some similarities between Canadian Credit Unions and Malawian SACCOs, there are some major differences! I think the biggest thing we, as coaches, need to be cognizant of is that the business rules that we follow in Canada are drastically different than the rules in Malawi. Paul and I had to learn how these SACCOs provide banking services to their members before we could make recommendations. I think I have a pretty firm grasp of how business is done now, and I hope that our recommendations to the MBC SACCO Management and Board are well received. 

In Malawi, the SACCO movement started off has a niche-banking system, with a very specific target market – the poor. Chartered Banks were not interested in banking the lower income class of society because it is not a very profitable sector and the risk associated with this sector was deemed excessive. The SACCO target market has changed to some extent and some SACCOs are trying to break this stigma of being the "Banker to the Poor" and operate as a real alternative to the Chartered Banks. The SACCO movement within Malawi truly is alive and well, and it is encouraging to see and hear about growth in SACCOs across the country.

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