By Sokhdom Nong, Cambodia & Timor Leste Community Development
Officer CUFA And By Tongngy Kaing, Communication Officer CUFA
Thirty-eight committee members from 19 model credit unions in the North-Eastern part of Cambodia were invited to join a training at CUFA office in Phnom Penh under Credit Union Development (CUD) project. Running from January 4 to 6, the training aims to build more trust between the credit unions and CUFA, to build the credit union leaders’ capacity to develop their credit union, to learn from existing successful credit unions in the field and to build relationships among all the model credit unions.
Since 2012, CUD has helped remote villages in Kampong Cham, Steung Treng,and Ratanakiri to create their own credit unions to help their communities access financial services. These credit unions are between 200 and 600 kilometers from Phnom Pehn and many of them are located in areas inhabited by indigenous communities. Currently CUD is promoting membership and saving mobilization in their community.
The training consisted of mainly credit union committee members. There were 22 committee leaders, twelve treasurers and four secretaries, and the training was coordinated by nine CUFA project staff, according to a community development officer Mr. Nong Sokhdom, who leads the projects.
On the first day of the 3-day training workshop, CUFA’s Community Development Officer Mr. Nong Sokhdom, who leads the Credit Union Development program, introduced CUFA and the CUD Project to the participants. In the afternoon, they were taken on field visit to Forest Credit Union in Takeo province, 60 kms from Phnom Pehn, to learn from their experiences. “Participants were very keen to learn from a successful credit union and asked many questions,” said Sokhdom.
There was another field visit on the second day to meet two business owners who are part of CUFA’s Village Entrepreneur program in Kandal province, to learn how to introduce the program into their community. They then visited Agricultural Development Credit Union in Kompong Seong Prey Veng province 80km away from Phnom Penh. In the afternoon, they visited Farmer Credit Union in Preh sdach, Prey Veng 100km from Phnom Penh.
On the final day of the workshop the CUFA staff provided participants with more training on developing model credit union regulation back in CUFA’s training centre. The session was conducted through group discussions and group presentations to encourage participation. CUFA’s Disability and Gender Specialist, Mr. Eang Chandara, also presented on how to include women in their credit unions. To close the workshop, CUFA organized a boat cruise on the Mekong River for the participants to enjoy the city view, dinner and socialise. CUFA’s Chief Executive Officer, Peter Mason also took part in the festivities along with the staff from CUFA’s Cambodian office.
“They [participants] are very happy with this training because they not only learnt a lot of useful knowledge but also had lots of fun from city tour and boat party. To many of them, this is their first time to the capital and to join such training,” Sokhdom said with a big smile.