Francelino joined CUFA as Country Manager, Timor-Leste in 2016. Here are some of his reflections on CUFA’s work in the field there:
70% of my country’s people live in rural areas and work as farmers. The support CUFA is able to provide to the farmers is life-changing and recognises the reality of life in our new country. I am proud to be a part of the CUFA team.
In Timor, the Credit Union Development (CUD) project works with communities to create new community savings groups which pool together money and offer productive loans to members. The project has longer term impacts including a change of mindset around financial management, community leadership, trust and shared responsibility. Community pride is an unexpected result of developing a community bank or savings group. Communities which were previously impoverished and fractured begin to give priority to long-term outcomes like education of their kids and access to health care.
CUFA provides amazing guidance and support for people in rural areas, which is why it has been so successful. The Village Entrepreneurs are trained and guided through some tough decision making and end up with sustainable micro-businesses. It brings me joy to see their progress.
I am also proud of the team here in Timor. The guys travel to distant locations on motorbikes and work tirelessly in the field to make a difference.
CUFA has been in Timor for ten years now and its legacy is obvious. I am now eager to innovate and find new ways the team and I can develop financial inclusion in my country. We have lots of ideas to support social businesses and undertake more financial literacy training.
– By Francelino Guterres