Monday, January 31, 2011

Danwell Credit Union

I can not believe we are starting a new week here in Kumasi. For the next three days we will be working with Danwell Credit Union. It has one main branch and two agencies as they are called here, one in Kasaam and one in Boaman both of which we will be visiting tomorrow. We were at the main branch today visiting with the staff and working with the Manageress Mrs. Philomina Sarpong. Danwell has an assets base of $900,000.00 and is home to 2400 active and dormant members. They have 9 staff members and have complimented their lending products with a Micro Finance department as well. Here in Ghana they have savings boxes, which are strong boxes that are given to members to save money in, piggy banks have nothing on these! There is only one set of keys for the box and they are held at the Credit Unions. The members on a daily basis put money in to the boxes and once the money has gone in the members are unable to access the savings again until the Credit Union comes to open the box for them. The funds are then brought to the Credit Union and deposited into the members account. Danwell has 600 of these savings boxes out in the community. It is a great program and seems to work well for both members and the Credit Union. We were treated to lunch today by Mrs. Philomia and her husband Mr. K K Sarpong, we tried a local dish called Red/Red. It was a type of bean stew with chicken and fried bananas on the side. It was very good. The one we had today was very mild however here in Ghana if you order Red/Red you need to ask because apparently it can be very spicy! On our way back from lunch we were able to stop in and see a few Credit Union members at their shops. We had the great pleasure of meeting Mr. Seth Koduah. Seth owns a sandal making shop which employs 9 people. When we asked him why he liked dealing at the Credit Union he said that the Credit Union is the best family he has. He told us that his mother was unable to help him with money so he went to the Credit Union to get a loan to help start his shop, and because he paid his loan back quickly he has been able to borrow a few more times to add machines to his shop to help with his business. He said he wouldn't have been able to do it without the Credit Unions help. His business is growing nicely and he is almost ready to expand into a bigger shop and he says he will be back to the Credit Union for another loan. It was wonderful to meet Seth and see first hand what a difference the Credit Union helps make. Seth is the gentleman in the orange shirt in my pictures attached. As the Credit Union cloth here in Ghana says "Join a Credit Union today the happy family". Well that is about all I have to share today as always I hope everyone enjoys the pictures and Good Night from Kumasi. Lennie Hampton

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