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ACCU Sends off 36th Batch of Development Educators

Posted June 18, 2024


The Association of Asian Confederation of Credit Unions (ACCU) is raising an army of world changers. They're doing it through Development Education . . .

BANGKOK, Thailand – The Association of Asian Confederation of Credit Unions (ACCU) concluded its 36th Development Educators’ Workshop on June 15, with 36 graduates from different countries in Asia equipped to spread the credit union business model in their respective countries upon graduation.

The grueling five-day workshop was conducted at the Pantip Hotel in the heart of Bangkok, with 36 delegates coming together from June 10 to 15 under the mentorship of experienced credit union leaders.

Participants came from Laos, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Australia, Papua New Guinea, and the Philippines.  ACCU leaders revealed that the 36 participants have a combined credit union experience of 400 years.

The Development Program began with the “Global Cooperative and Credit Union Movement” started by the establishment of credit unions in the 1800s by Fredrick Wilhelm Raiffeisen in Germany, Alphonse Desjardin in Canada, and Edward Filene in the United States.

The three pioneers of the Movement worked independently in their own countries, and yet had one overwhelming mission: “improving lives of members.”  Much emphasis was placed on credit unions providing more than just financial services as an end, but rather providing financial services as a means to improve the lives of their member-customers.

The message is clear: credit unions provide financial services only as a means to improve the lives of their members.

An entire session in the DE Workshop was dedicated for the 2030 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals’ 17 goals and 167 indicators.  

The DE Program uses as indicators of improved lives the standards of the 2030 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) which provides concrete “indicators” to measure and determine whether a person’s life is up to par.

Leadership was also a major topic of the Workshop, which employed the materials of John Maxwell Leadership.

To deliver all that information, the DE Program also aims to develop presentation skills – done without the use of power point presentations and more on the actual creation of slides.  

Speaking English was a major challenge for participants from non-English-speaking countries like Indonesia and Laos but the participants proved themselves up to the task. 

Mentoring the participants were Ranjith Hettiarachchi, Elenita San Roque, Paul Dawson, Gaylene Quitadamo, Mark Worthington, and Kamon Kiattisirikumpon.  

Paul Dawson is Manager of the Australian Mutuals Foundation, a philanthropic organization supported by Australian Credit Unions carrying out a range of poverty alleviation programs in Australia and development Activities in Asia, partnering with ACCU.

Gaylene Quitadamo is the People and Culture Manager at Unity Bank (formerly Maritime, Mining and Power Credit Union). Gaylene started her credit union career in 2009 as the Executive Assistant to the CEO.  In June 2023, she was a 33rd batch graduate of the ACCU Development Education Workshop.

Mark Worthington is CEO of the Australian Mutual Bank in Sydney, Australia and has been a Development Educator since 1994.  He has held senior management positions in credit unions and mutual banks for over twenty years.

Kamon Kiattisirikumpon in 2008 became Program Assistant, sharing his accounting expertise to help NGOs and credit unions improve operations. At the workshop, he shared the framework of ACCU’s Business Solutions 26 on Climate Action.

Elenita San Roque joined ACCU in 1995 as Financial Advisor, then as Manager of Member Services.  She now the CEO of ACCU, developing credit union business solutions – the building blocks for sustainable credit unions systems in Asia.  She is a graduate of the 13th Australian Development Program in 1997.  

Ranjith Hettiarachchi from Sri Lanka worked with ACCU since 1993 and was CEO from 1995 to 2014.  He earned degrees from Manchester University and Salisbury University in Canada, and graduated from the Development Education Program in 1996.

NATCCO was represented by Board Director Sheree Mae Javier, NATCCO Credit Officer Fernando Arenal, and Communications Officer Diosdado Luna.

NATCCO member-cooperatives that participated were Excellent Peoples MPC, Tagum Cooperative, Panabo MPC, Abra Diocesn Teachers and Employees MPC, ACDI MPC, Nueva Vizcaya Alay Kapwa MPC, and DCCCO MPC. 

There are now 1,230 graduates of the ACCU’s DE Program.  The objective of the DE Program is to “Communicate and promote the unique role of credit unions in cooperative development and to assist in obtaining support for credit union programs worldwide.”

ACCU comprises 33,120 financial cooperatives all over Asia.  These cooperatives manage US$ 466 Billion assets belonging to their 48.8 million members.

The National Confederation of Cooperatives (NATCCO Network) is a member of ACCU.

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