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Connexus : Issue 37
www.abacus.org.au 48 Connexus COMMUNITY This year's CUFA Development Education program will be held in Timor Leste for the first time, giving participants direct experience of a developing country. Timor Leste's credit union movement is eager to welcome them for the November 7-11 program and share experiences and information. The country's 32 credit unions have a total of 4,000 members. Since Development Education's inception in 1991, the intensive five-day program has generated exceptional results in personal development, credit union and cooperative education and awareness. It also provides motivation and the practical knowhow for participants to make valuable contributions to their workplace and the greater community. Past participants Philippa Wills, of NZCU Rotorua, in New Zealand, and Aleixo Gusmao, of CUFA, are just two of the many people who have used what they've learnt to innovate in their workplaces and local communities. Wills is developing a Money Coaching Service as a creative value-add for members of her credit union, as well as a clever marketing tool to attract new members. The service encourages members to improve their own and their family's financial wellbeing through a focus on personal balance sheets and by working towards financial goals. Goals may range from reducing debts and associated fees to increasing savings and buying a house. Wills has gained the support of her board, which has made a financial commitment of NZ$35,000. She has also established online training for the coaches of the service. The outcomes of the service will be closely monitored to identify the financial benefits as well as the qualitative gains such as reduced stress, member achievement and greater family security. After attending the Development Education program and hearing from colleagues about a children's financial literacy program in Cambodia, Gusmao spent a morning teaching children financial literacy at a school in Dili, Timor Leste's capital. He taught them how to spend money wisely and about the importance of saving, and they made piggy banks from recycled water bottles as a practical exercise. Most people in Timor Leste struggle to get by day-to-day. Family incomes barely cover daily expenses and there are times when families are forced to go without food and other basic necessities. Like many people in developing countries, Timorese people can lack an understanding of how a habit of saving can help them through difficult times and emergencies, or cover future expenses such as medical fees or their children's school fees. To register for the popular Development Education program, email Anne Casey at email@example.com or phone (02) 8299 9270. -- Catherine Drummond is CUFA's international projects supervisor. ...the intensive five-day program... provides motivation and the practical knowhow for participants to make valuable contributions to their workplace and the greater community. Development education goes to Timor Leste The 2011 CUFA Development Education program is sure to be exciting and enlightening for all who register. By Catherine Drummond