26 November 2018
Rural Business Development: Cufa Hosts A Workshop

At the beginning of November, Cufa held a small business workshop event in Roka Village, Svay Rieng province, Cambodia. The event hosted participants that included, women and people with disabilities. The participants strengthened their capacity to share knowledge about key successful business methods.  It also gave them the opportunity to discuss and learn about each other's personal achievements. Consequently, it has provided local communities with the chance to expand their rural business development knowledge.

The workshop was part of Cufa’s LEED program that focuses on increasing the incomes of rural community members through small business development. It provides education in both areas of business skills development and agricultural activities.

LEED project officer Chanthy Chhoeun hosted the day. He spent a large portion of it working through the main points. These were:

  • Identifying the largest challenges of businesses and their solutions
  • Discussing the key points that have helped successful businesses to excel
  • How to manage a budget for a small business


Rural business development presentation


The day also had a visit from a guest speaker, Mey Moa. Mey started his own business, a grocery store, in 2014 with minimal experience and a small loan. He inspired the crowd with his story and explained how he had recently opened a second business, a beauty salon. Mey was able to change his life and is now a very well respected and successful businessman in his village. Thus, much of his success he says is thanks to working hard, developing his business skills and showing solidarity with his family.

After the event participants left with their knowledge improved in multiple areas of business management and development. It was a very helpful forum to share experiences and ask questions. Moreover, many participants were excited to start putting into practice some of the skills including developing a business plan and budget. There will be many extremely busy businesses in the near future with harvesting season around the corner.


Rural business development group


Chanthy said of the event, “It was great they could learn how to start a small business with small capital and develop many skills. It has also been important to discuss how to operate your business together as husband and wife.”

Learn more about how our LEED program is supporting rural business development across multiple provinces in Cambodia.

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26 November 2018
Climate Change, Disasters and Women: New Podcast Episode

Climate Change Disasters and Women New Podcast Episode Melissa

This month, ActionAid’s Melissa Bungcaras has appeared as a guest on Cufa’s podcast series, Conversations in Development. The series delves into issues surrounding foreign aid and social change, exploring diverse themes in the international development field including voluntourism, child labour and microfinance.

The episode, Climate change, disasters and women,  was released on Monday 26 November with Melissa appearing alongside Cufa’s CEO and podcast host, Dr Peter Mason. Together they will discuss climate change, natural disasters and the effect of these on women.

With the effects of climate change increasing the amount of natural disasters occuring across the globe, a number of vulnerable groups have been impacted. Women are one of the groups that have been affected and this will continue to become a more prominent issue moving into the future.

Melissa is the Gender and Resilience Manager for ActionAid Australia. She is currently managing a portfolio of programs across the Asia-Pacific focused on women’s resilience to climate change and disasters and drives policy advocacy on climate justice and women’s leadership in emergencies. Melissa has over 10 years’ experience in international development and environmental management, primarily in the Asia-Pacific region.

The episode examines how gender inequality becomes lethal in natural disasters where women die in far greater numbers than men. Patriarchal systems often leave women responsible for children and elderly people in a disaster and exclude women from accessing information that could save their lives. Melissa describes how and why women should take a leading role in disaster preparedness planning and how aid agencies and governments both have a role to play in reducing the gender gap.

Get up to date with this podcast by listening to the previous episodes. Simply search “Conversation in Development” into Apple Podcasts or your favourite podcast streaming service. Episode 7 on climate change, disasters and women streaming from Monday 26 November 2018.

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29 October 2018
COBA 2018 Melbourne: A Great Opportunity for Cufa

The Customer Owned Banking Convention, COBA 2018, was recently held in Melbourne from 21-23 October 2018. This year’s theme was ‘The Challenge of Change’.  Over the course of the convention speakers and exhibitors informed the sector about how to meet these challenges and take advantage of the moment.


COBA 2018 Banner


With change comes opportunity and the convention delved into topics surrounding the banking royal commission and a range of new regulatory proposals. New technology in the industry was also discussed with plenty of it on show in the exhibition hall.

Cufa was lucky enough to be in attendance with a stand thanks to ASL. It was an excellent opportunity to meet and thank many of our supporters from the community-owned banking industry in person. 

The convention was a great chance to show the industry the amazing work and achievements that Cufa has been able to build on over the past year. In addition, we were also able to inform people of the new work Cufa has secured and offer people the trip of a lifetime with our Cultural Learning Trip to Cambodia.

Cufa’s Village Entrepreneur program was on show as well, providing an excellent opportunity to discuss with people the life-changing impact it has on the lives of people within remote communities.

Cufa Chair Margot Sweeny said of the convention, “I had a lot of fun this year. It was a great opportunity to hear about all the changes in the industry. The banking royal commission and AI were very interesting talking points. We also had an amazing stand this year, provided by ASL; and it gave us the chance to thank many of our great supporters."

Thank you to everyone that took the time to visit our stand at COBA 2018. If you have any further questions about the Cufa Cultural Learning Trip or our Village Entrepreneur program, please feel free to contact us:

Phone – 1300 490 467

Email –

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29 October 2018
Over 100,000 Students Educated and Counting

Cufa’s Children’s Financial Literacy program has recently reached the milestone of teaching over 100,000 students.

The program was first started in 2008 as a fun and engaging way to teach financial education to disadvantaged students. Cufa has been able to grow the program immensely in the past few years. It has expanded from Cambodia to Myanmar, growing the number of children reached. Cufa has also worked together with Teachers Mutual Bank and CPA Australia to develop the program further with CPA Australia helping develop the Count4Kids app.

The program encourages students to set both short and long-term goals and hence, we continue to witness a multitude of success stories such as Samnang, who maintains aspirations of studying to become an engineer in Cambodia.

The growing success of the program has seen 66% of participants actively saving over the past 3 years. Alongside this, there has been a 236% increase in savings per child over that same time period. In the past 1.75 years, Cufa has educated over 22,500 students with over 1000 lessons. As a result, the growth and development of the program is constantly increasing.

Read about the vast impact that the program and Cufa’s work has on children in our recent Social Return on Investment report.


CFL teaches over 100,000 students Myanmar


The success of the program doesn’t stop with the children educated. The student's families also benefit from their participation in the program as they are provided access to community-owned banks. Consequently, they can gain financial services like a savings account and access to finance in the form of business loans.

Over 100,000 students have been imparted the tools to develop lifelong savings habits at a young age thanks to the program. Therefore, many have been able to steer clear of poverty using these financial tools. We hope to reach many more to provide this opportunity in the future!

Find out more about the amazing Children’s Financial Literacy program.

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29 October 2018
Guy Winship: Podcast in Remembrance

Conversations in Development, Cufa’s podcast discussing aid and development, has recently released a special episode in remembrance of Guy Winship. The episode will delve into his journey from South Africa to being the founder and CEO of an NGO. This follows on from previous episodes exploring microfinance, child labour, foreign aid and other important development issues.

Guy Winship was the founder and CEO of Good Return, an organisation that provides microfinance across the Asia-Pacific region. Good Return delivers programs to those who are financially and socially excluded, empowering through financial inclusion. Guy was a development expert who worked in Africa, Asia and the Pacific for 30 years. He also consulted and advised governments and NGOs on microfinance, public policy and vocational training.

The episode was recorded a few years ago between Guy and Conversations in Development host and Cufa CEO, Dr Peter Mason. Within the episode, Guy discusses his motivations for working in the development field. He retells his experiences of Apartheid South Africa and how that forged his belief in social justice and explains how he got his beginning with Good Return in Australia and the impact that had on his life, especially his family.


Guy Winship



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 6, Investing in social justice: Guy Winship, is available now!

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27 September 2018
MEDIA RELEASE – World Tourism Day: Cufa Explores Volunteer Tourism in Podcast

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 27th September 2018

Cufa has today released a new episode in their podcast series, Conversations in Development, hosted by Cufa’s CEO Dr Peter Mason and journalist Olivia Rosenman.

Focusing on volunteer tourism, the episode features special guest Stephen Wearing. Stephen is a professor at the University of Newcastle and University of Technology Sydney. His research focuses on sustainable tourism and the importance of community-based approaches in the tourism and volunteering sector. He also spent 22 years running VOICE, a not-for-profit organisation that sent volunteers on grassroots, community-identified development projects.

World Tourism Day, 27 September, celebrates tourism and raises awareness for the role that it provides within the international community. It is one of the fastest growing and most important economic sectors in the world.

This Conversations in Development episode explores volunteer tourism, a multi-billion dollar industry in which travellers participate in voluntary work. Stephen discusses what the industry is missing while using his expert insight to outline how the industry is changing. Additionally, he explores in what way it could be better regulated and the role that the media plays in popular perceptions of volunteer tourist destinations.

Cufa’s CEO, Dr Peter Mason commented, “Volunteer tourism is an excellent initiative if it is completed in a sustainable and respectful manner. The industry has, unfortunately, developed a bad reputation for institutions such as orphanages. Volunteer trips should be focused on making enduring skill based contributions that benefit communities in the long-term.”

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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For all media enquiries, interview and image requests, please contact:

Carolina Flores

Marketing and Communications Manager
1300 490 467


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