Yesterday we started our spring training session. What a lot of energy! Our training sessions have always gone well, this is our 4th year of them, but for some reason everyone is really pumped up this year. There are about 105 people in attendance here and we expect some more to show up. The rooms at Kihesa are getting too full and we will have to move next year, maybe to the University, but it would have to be at a slightly different time so classes were not in session.
The attendees were split up according to the office they hold. There is a training session by the government auditor for the treasurer and loan committee chairs on how to keep correct books and records. This group spread out and did practice sessions. Each group had one of the members of the Iringa Hope Joint SACCOS board coaching them. We made a run with Duma, the Iringa Hope treasurer, to get more forms and paperwork for the group. There were lots of smiles as people got things right and lots of coaching when they didn’t.
The SACCOS chairmen and secretaries went off to a different room to talk about how to form an AMCOS. We had been planning on forming 6 AMCOS this year but a grant from NAFAKA has changed this. We now expect to form 20 or more this year. This session was packed with people standing outside the room in the hallway to listen and take notes. There was a lot of excitement. If our AMCOS go as well as the SACCOS there will be a huge surge in our member villages this year.
Finally there was a class on the constitution and the various committees and groups that it requires. This room was also packed. This year we have a number of new SACCOS teams. There are two new teams from Njombe and a few from the Kilolo and Iringa rural districts. They were busy taking notes and listening intently.
Many of these leaders have been coming to these training sessions for several years now. They have made friends with other leaders and are busy exchanging thoughts and ideas. The new attendees seem to be mixing in well and meeting some of their cohorts.
Tom requested an opportunity to meet with the Iringa Hope Joint SACCOS (IHJS) board. He wanted to talk with them about the coming changes. By the end of this year the IHJS will be funding all of the activities here including the MFI employees and their work. The IHJS will be making all of the decisions for the network including loan policies, interest rates, training requirements, etc. This is a change for them, but one which they have known is coming. We are very comfortable having them do this and they are looking forward to it as well.
We always serve chai, lunch, and afternoon tea at these meetings. It is a time for everyone to visit, make calls, and talk over the sessions. It is very satisfying to see how the leaders have grown together. The new leaders seem to be comfortable and are making good connections. We are very proud to be associated with this group of talented people!
Sandy greeted Malila. Malila is the Kilolo Coop Officer. We have known him for many years now. He has been promoted to a district wide job.
The Iringa Hope Joint SACCOS chairman, Absalem, opened the session. It is very impressive how he has taken charge since he was elected chairman.
When the meeting broke up into different sessions, the Treasurers and the chairs of the loan committees practiced filling out forms and booklets.
The session on how to start an AMCOS was absolutely full. People stood outside in the hallway to listen.
Finally there was a class on the constitution and the various committees and groups that it requires. This room was also packed.
Lunch, chai, and tea were times to mix and talk about the lessons.
We took photos of all of the leaders from the SACCOS. Tom made faces to get them to smile. Most of then wound up laughing like this group.
Tom met with the IHJS board. A very dedicated, talented group.
At the end of the day everyone was discussing the lessons and comparing notes. We counted over 100 attendees today. There will be a few more tomorrow - so maybe we will have 120 or so altogether?