Saturday, 25 January 2014

SACCO Is My Life

We left Lilongwe and headed to Mzimba which is located in northern Malawi. The drive there was beautiful. Along the M1 highway there were all sorts of interesting sights – women carrying baskets on their head, boys chasing goats, men riding bicycles, the bustling market, babies strapped to their mothers’ backs, cows pulling carts. How I wish I could have sat on the side of the road with my camera for hours.

My team arrived at Mzimba Teachers SACCO where we met with the General Manager, Albert and the IT Manager, Einstein and had a chance to discuss the successes and challenges of the SACCO. They are the largest SACCO in the north and recently opened their bond to include all civil servants.

Mzimba Teachers SACCO is currently facing an issue due to the government not remitting payroll deductions. Everyone is positive that this will change after the elections in May.

Mzimba deserves credit due to the introduction of the group savings and loan program that assists a common group by pooling their funds together and lending funds to the group. This would allow members of the group to obtain funds that they might not otherwise qualify for. It is almost like the idea of a bunch of co-signors. Members borrow for school fees, fertilizer, funeral expenses and small business.

I was also impressed when Albert mentioned that the managers of different SACCOs in the area meet quarterly to share experiences and discuss common challenges. This is similar to the Small Credit Union Advisory Council in Toronto. “United we stand”.

Tapiwa was a young branch manager that we met who had the opportunity to be a part of the CCA Women’s Mentorship Program in Canada. She visited Sunshine Credit Union in Manitoba and stated “I’m young. I’m getting wiser each and every day.”

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