18 July 2018
Women’s Self-Help Group Given Reason to Celebrate

Last month, Shwe Myanmar Self-Help Group (SHG) celebrated its 2nd anniversary. The SHG is located in Tha Yet Chaung Village, Taik Kyi Township and currently has 124 members. It is also one of our many female-focused groups, allowing for women to have greater access to financial services and financial education.

The SHG is part of Cufa’s Credit Union Development project, providing the members of credit unions an opportunity to participate in training sessions on varying topics to further their financial education. It also acts as a platform where members can meet and initiate open discussion. The aim of the day was not only to celebrate the group’s achievements but also to inform other self-help groups about their success and look towards the future.

The ceremonies agenda included:

  • Opening address from the Village Tract Administrator
  • Speech delivered by the Cufa Country Manager
  • History of the group presented by the Chair
  • Presentation on the journey so far
  • A general look ahead to the future of SHGs in the local township
  • Q and A session

Daw Nyunt Nyunt Kyi, chairperson of the group committee had a very active role in the ceremony. After submitting the financial reports, she guided the day through presentations and a Q and A session. She was extremely happy with the turnout, looking ahead to a brighter future.

Committee members of other SHGs were also in attendance, taking notes on how to improve their own groups. The day was full of fruitful ideas and we look forward to seeing more of the same from other groups in the future!


Group photo of self-help group


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18 July 2018
New Podcast Episode on Microfinance: Building economies, improving lives

Conversations in Development Logo

Cufa’s podcast, Conversations in Development, will welcome a new guest to discuss microfinance with the hosts. Following on from previous episodes that have focused on child labour and foreign aid, this episode explores microfinancing in developing countries and breaks down the idea of integrating refugees into society.

Microfinance is a market-driven approach to development, alleviating poverty through the creation of local economies and sustainable livelihoods. 

This episodes guest, Mahir Momand, is the CEO of Thrive Refugee Enterprise, an organisation that provides microfinance and business support to refugees and asylum seekers in Australia. Mahir’s prior experience in Afghanistan included as the CEO of the National Association of Credit Unions and positions with the World Bank and UNHCR. He has helped establish a total of 165,000 small and medium business enterprises in Afghanistan, providing a livelihood for nearly 1 million people.

The episode explains microfinancing in the developing world, touches on refugees and their integration both economically and socially into society, and Mahir describes his journey as a refugee being threatened and shot by the Taliban and ultimately ending up in Australia.

Get up to date by listening to the previous episodes. Simply search “Conversation in Development” into Apple Podcasts or your favourite podcast streaming service. Episode 4 streaming from Monday 13 August 2018.


Mahir , Peter and Olivia talk microfinance

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26 June 2018
MEDIA RELEASE – Losing their childhood: Cufa publishes podcast on child labour



Cufa announced today the release of a new episode focusing on child labour in their podcast series, Conversations in Development, hosted by Cufa’s CEO Dr Peter Mason and journalist Olivia Rosenman.

The episode features lawyer, strategist, and activist, Brynn O’Brien as a special guest. Brynn is currently the Executive Director of the Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility, an organisation that holds Australia’s largest companies accountable for their impacts on people and the environment.

152 million children throughout the world are currently engaged in child labour. It is a major worldwide issue that deprives children of their childhood and creates a cycle of intergenerational poverty. The recent World Day Against Child Labour highlighted the global extent of child labour and the action required to eliminate it. This includes educating consumers about child labour in supply chains, empowering them to make ethical decisions in order to eliminate the practice.

With the unique insight provided by Brynn, this Conversations in Development episode unpacks many of the processes behind child labour and explores the need for transparency and ethical consumerism. The episode also explores the challenges behind meeting the UN Sustainable Development Goal of eliminating child labour by 2025.

“The link between child labour and intergenerational poverty is unmistakable.” said Dr Peter Mason, CEO of Cufa. “Consumers must be informed about the presence of child labour in companies’ supply chains so they can make informed and ethical decisions. Education is our most valuable tool to combat the issue.”

Conversations in Development is available to download and stream with Apple Podcasts or your favourite podcast platform.

Visit the podcast website:

Conversations in Development: RSS feed

Dr. Peter Mason is the CEO of international development agency Cufa. Cufa’s programs focus on economic development of underserved and disadvantaged communities across the Asia Pacific region. With multiple approaches including education, employment, enterprise, and financial institution development, Cufa’s projects are implemented by local Cufa offices and country staff who work with local communities, organisations, and government. Peter has worked in Cambodia, Timor Leste, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Fiji, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Samoa, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, and the Federated States of Micronesia. His research interests include examining the way in which the social and the economic interact within the development environment and he has recently published a chapter, Credit Unions, in The Routledge Companion to Alternative Organization.

Olivia Rosenman is the executive producer of Fourth Estate, a weekly media affairs show radio broadcast in Sydney on 2SER. She has previously worked as a reporter for news agencies in both Sydney and Asia. As an AusAID Youth Ambassador for Development, Olivia ran the communications department of a disability services organization in Nanning, China. Olivia holds a Master of Journalism from the University of Hong Kong and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Sydney.


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1300 490 467


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19 June 2018
Count4Kids App Launch Myanmar

Last week, Cufa and CPA Australia launched the Count4Kids app in Myanmar. The launch was held at Mt. Pann Ta Pwint Monastic Education School in Taik Kyi Township, Myanmar.



The app is part of Cufa’s Children’s Financial Literacy (CFL) program and will be used as an educational tool to teach basic financial literacy to school children in rural Myanmar. It is the continuation of a successful partnership between Cufa and CPA Australia after the app was released in Cambodia in November 2015.

Through animation and games, the Count4Kids Myanmar App will teach four basic financial literacy concepts: earning money, budgeting for items, saving for future financial goals and making choices about spending money. Since 2008, over 90,000 children aged 6-12 years in Cambodia and Myanmar have been taught in Cufa’s CFL program.



Thank you to CPA Australia for creating infinite value through financial literacy education!

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19 June 2018
12th Russian Credit Union Forum

The 12th Russian Credit Union Forum was held in the beautiful Russian resort city, Sochi from 23rd May – 25th May, 2018. Hosted by the Russian Credit Union League (RCUL), this year’s theme was Credit Cooperation is 25: Achievements, Experience and Potential for Development.

Both Cufa’s Chair Margot Sweeny and Cufa’s CEO Dr. Peter Mason have previously attended the Russian Credit Union Forum. This year, Cufa  sponsored Michael Koisen from the Papua New Guinea credit union movement to speak at the forum. As the CEO of Teachers Savings and Loan Society in Papua New Guinea, and with over 30 years’ experience in the savings and loans industry, Michael shared his valuable insight into the regulation challenges faced by credit unions.



While being honored to give the opening address, Michael Koisen said of the forum, "The Russian Credit Union Industry has had stops and starts, pre and post Soviet Union and is going through what I would term as a revitalization. There seems to be a mixture of heavy handed and absent regulation driven by a mixture of variables including GFC, distrust, a lack of capacities due to fragmentation and inadequate regulatory resources across a vast geography. There is a huge potential for growth once they get past their teething phase. There are some similar experiences and close similarities to Credit Union development and evolution in Papua New Guinea and the Pacific."

The Russian Credit Union Forum is a platform for discussion of sector development, issues facing by credit cooperatives, including regulation and self-regulation, financial sustainability, new ideas and technologies

Cufa’s history with the RCUL dates back to its induction in 1994. Cufa and RCUL continue to connect as both organisations contribute towards cooperative development around the world.

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19 June 2018
Learn about some unique Village Entrepreneurs

Cufa’s Village Entrepreneur program lets you join an individual villager on an amazing journey towards a sustainable business. This means a financially independent future, breaking the cycle of poverty for their family and future generations.

There are a wide range of businesses that Village Entrepreneurs often set up with chicken and pig farming being some of the most popular.

Here are some of the programs more unique businesses!

Name Eoun Seng

Business Bike Repairer

Name Phalla Hein

Business Sugar Cane Juice Seller

Name Sokun Chheun 

Business Tailor

Name Bein Sovan

Business Barber


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