By Kundi Lay, International Projects Supervisor CUFA

KIWI Development Education (KIWIDE), jointly hosted by CUFA and the New Zealand Credit Union Foundation (NZCUF), was held in Auckland, New Zealand in November and was a great success, with all involved having a fantastic time.

21 participants from Australia, Cambodia, Fiji, Samoa, and New Zealand were joined by four mentors who, as previous participants, were invited to provide encouragement and guidance to this year’s participants during the five day intensive workshop.

The five-day program works with participants to develop key professional skills as well as providing an opportunity for idea sharing and discussion around the mutual movement and its continued development.

Each day was a fun, educational and interactive day of learning with international guest speakers from New Zealand, Australia, United Kingdom and United States, representing the worldwide mutual movement. The speakers shared informative ideas, conducted enjoyable and thoughtful group work activities for participants and provided opportunities to ask questions on strategies to develop individual mutuals.

The program aims to build capacity through skills development in such key areas as public speaking. Many participants felt shy, nervous and unconfident when required to stand in front of a crowd and talk on their first day. However, by day five, after engaging in the public speaking workshop, all participants had gained their confidence and improved their public speaking skills. Participants left feeling more confident not only with their improved skills but with themselves.

Participants were also able to gain a better insight into how credit unions and financial cooperatives are developing communities living in poverty throughout the Asia Pacific. They learnt how CUFA is helping improve livelihoods and empowering people through various programs including the Village Entrepreneur Initiative, Children’s Financial Literacy and the Leadership Challenges. Participants left feeling inspired by the role that the movement and CUFA play in strengthening people and alleviating poverty.

The DE program is also a great opportunity for participants to build their professional networks, which was encouraged through the provision of engaging evening activities. On the first evening the group were treated to a course in how to do the Hakha, including its history, meaning and significance. The participants also learned how the Hakha can help build concentration, confidence and trust. Whilst in Auckland, the group also had the opportunity to visit the sites of the city and learn about the local culture.

On the last evening of the program, the group enjoyed one last dinner together. The theme for the evening was cultural exchange and each participant dressed in traditional clothing and put on a traditional performance to share with the group. It was one of the most memorable moments of the program for both participants and mentors.

KIWIDE was an enormously successful event that left participants with improved skills, increased confidence and a broader network as well a deeper understanding of how to develop their own mutual and of mutual movement around the world. The participants left with improved skills, increased confidence and a broader network. Thank you to all who took part.

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