Piloting ApexFinCoop - a training programme for financial cooperatives' apex organizations in Ghana

As principle-driven and member-owned businesses, financial cooperatives are among the key institutions to advance financial inclusion particularly in rural areas and for those who face challenges in accessing these services through other types of financial service providers. ILO, ITC-ILO and FAO held a workshop to test and validate a training programme for financial cooperatives apex organizations.

Article | 14 December 2017
Group presentation at the workshop
From 4 to 8 December 2017, ILO, the International Training Centre of the ILO (ITC-ILO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) collaborated with the Ghana Credit Unions Association (CUA), the apex organization of cooperative credit unions in Ghana, to pilot the “ApexFinCoop” training programme.

This new training programme is a result of a collaborative effort by a variety of international organizations and financial cooperative experts around the world. It aims at empowering financial cooperatives apex organizations and other support institutions including policy makers and regulators to advance the scale and effectiveness of financial cooperatives. The objective of this pilot workshop was to validate the contents and methodology and collect inputs for the finalization of the material.

The training workshop took place at the Credit Unions Training Centre of CUA (CUTraC) in Kasoa, Ghana. Most of the 26 participants represented CUA (board members, management staff and CUTraC staff), in addition to several participants from primary or regional credit unions, regulators (Department of Co-operatives under the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations and Bank of Ghana), Ghana Microfinance Institutions Network (GHAMFIN), and Savings Banks Foundation for International Cooperation (SBFIC).

The programme was structured around the following key themes:
  • Visioning and management
  • Apex functions and business models
  • Development and delivery of products and services
  • Financial sustainability and risk management
  • Enabling environment and advocacy

The training was concluded successfully, with active engagement by the participants. The feedback received confirmed that the training content was relevant for financial cooperative apex organizations, irrespective of the maturity of the apex. CUA, for example, is a mature apex organization established in 1968. The participants appreciated the participatory methodology and intense interaction among themselves and the facilitators.

Dennis Zulu, Director of ILO CO-Abuja visited the training group
The ApexFinCoop training materials will be finalised early 2018 based on the inputs from this pilot workshop. Plans are being made to roll out the training programme in other countries and regions from the second quarter of 2018. On 6 December, Dennis Zulu, Director of ILO CO-Abuja covering Ghana visited CUTraC to appreciate the training workshop, expressing interest to roll out the training programme elsewhere in the subregion. The ILO, ITC-ILO and FAO, in collaboration with the key partners like Irish League of Credit Unions Foundation (ILCUF) and CUA, will continue to explore opportunities to support financial cooperatives apex organizations using the ApexFinCoop training programme.

For further information concerning the training programme, please contact sfp@ilo.org and coop@ilo.org.

Group photo