Participants role-playing the conduct of Cooperative Membership Education Seminar (CMES)
Twenty-seven participants attended the Training Course on Cooperative Membership Development Course conducted on September 21-23, 2016 at the Mibamyita Hotel. The course is the last in the series of Cooperative Formation Courses (CFC) designed to equip leaders and the staffs of the cooperative on the basic knowledge and skills of cooperative operations. The course is aimed at developing information and education materials that can be used to provide continuous cooperative education to its members. One of the expected outputs is the formulation of a Cooperative Membership Education Seminar (CMES).
Resource Person Edwin Peraz facilitating a session, assisted by NTC Myo Myo Htun
The CMES is the basic course given to applicants for membership. It contains topics on the general principles and practices of cooperatives, history of the cooperative movement, basic statistics on the status of the cooperative and the programs and services it is providing. The formulation of CMES is an essential part of the cooperative’s membership expansion program as new members from outside existing savings groups are now being accepted.
The officers and management staff of Bawa Yay Thauk Myint Cooperative participated in the Training on Cooperative Audit organized and conducted by Positive Planet last August 24-26 at the Mibamyita Hotel in Hpa-an. The training is part of the series of Cooperative Formation Courses (CFC) designed to strengthen the operations of cooperatives.
Resource Person Olive de Guzman explaining cash audit methods
The audit training was designed to enhance the skills of the members of the Audit Committee within the Board of Directors as the financial activities of the cooperative are building up. The cooperative released the first set of loans last July and the second batch was approved by the Board and waiting for release. The cooperative is also slated to start its savings mobilization program within the month of September.
Participants doing cash count exercise
The training covered topics such as basic principles of audit, internal and external audit process and the people in the cooperative responsible for audit. The theoretical discussions were completed by workshops where members of the Audit Committee practiced doing cash count, review of loan documents and role-play in doing field validation.
Role playing on field validation activities
Other participants included staff of the Community Development Association (CDA) and representatives from Pwint Pwint Lin Lin Coop in the adjacent sub-township of Paing Kyone.
The formation of Bawa Yay Thauk Myit Cooperative (BYTM) is one of the highlights of the Project. It has been proven that the methodologies used in the formation are effective, and cooperatives can be formed through a bottoms-up approach. Another indicator of its success is the fact that the people in the villages indeed have savings and these savings can be mobilized given the right motivation and methods.
Part of the Project activities is knowledge sharing where results would be imparted to other institutions that would be benefitted by the results. In this context the Conference on Cooperative Formation for Sustainable Financial Inclusion was held last June 2-3 at the Thingaha Hotel, Nay Pyi Taw.
Director General U Aung Phyu of the Department of Cooperatives addressing the participants to the conference
The conference was attended by officers of the Department of Cooperatives headed by Director General U Aung Phyu. State and Division level Cooperative Officers attended and were joined by officers from the head office in Nay Pyi Taw. The Kayin State Minister of Agriculture represented the Kayin State government. Officers and staff of the Community Development Association (CDA) and the members of the Board of Directors of BYTM Cooperative together with the staff also attended.
Among the donor agencies represented during the conference were the European Union Delegation (EU), the main funder of the Project; the Livelihood Trust Fund (LIFT); and the Deutsche Gesselschaft fur Internationale Zussamenarbeit (GIZ). Several international non-government organizations (INGOs) also participated in the conference to include Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA), Asian Confederation of Credit Union (ACCU) and Malteser International.
Panel session speakers answering questions from the participants
Local NGOs included Phyu Sin Saydana Action Group (PSSAG), an NGO based in Hpa-an, Peace Winds Japan from Ayeyawardy Division and Pwint Pwint Lin Lin Cooperative from Paing Kyone sub-township.
Technical experts from PlaNet Finance presented the main topics, while CDA and the officers and staff of BYTM expressed themselves during panel sessions. Discussions were focused on the effectiveness of savings mobilization, the cost of the formation process which is necessary to determine replication activities and the strengthening of the cooperative.
Participants to the conference
The basic savings mobilization tool was used to motivate people to save and pool their savings in informal and small groups in the villages. Since the formation started in April 2015, more than a hundred savings groups were formed in the 33 villages covered by the Project, mobilizing almost $50,000 savings. Of the total savings, more than $10,000 were already transformed as share capital to the Bawa Yay Thauk Myit Cooperative (BYTM) .
With the launching of the BYTM Cooperative and its positioning as the financial intermediary in Hlaing-bwe Township, the capacity of the cooperative to be the depository of savings in the villages of the Township was enhanced. The Training on Member-Savings Operation (MSO) was conducted last May 25-27, 2016 to enable the cooperative to provide savings services where members can deposit and withdraw money during business hours.
The MSO is a system that makes the cooperative function like a bank. Members can deposit their money for safekeeping at the cooperative and withdraw whenever they need it. They will not be bothered with their stash of cash hidden in their homes with the cooperative providing easy access to their money.
To enable the cooperative to handle the complexities of daily deposits and withdrawals, the topics covered the following: systems and procedures together with the forms to be used, the required accounting system, office lay-out and security, pricing of savings products, computing the average daily balance (ADB) which is the basis for imputing interest rate on savings, managing liquidity reserve and the funds inflow-outflow management (FIOM) to monitor the movement of cash.
The sweltering heat did not prevented members of the Bawa Yay Thauk Myit Cooperative to attend the launching and ribbon cutting ceremonies held at the new office of the cooperative on May 12, 2016. Members lined-up to receive the stock certificates of the equity they contributed to the capital of the cooperative.
U Lon Kyin, the chairperson of the cooperative emphasized in his speech participation of all the members will ensure success and sustainable services to the members. During the launching, new members paid their equity shares, while some members purchased additional shares evidence of their confidence in the capacity of the cooperative to manage funds.
The highlight of the ribbon-cutting ceremony was the participation of the new Kayin Chief Minister Daw Nan Khin Htwe Myint and top officials of the Kayin State government. The Chief Minister lauded the formation of the cooperative and its role in the development of Hlaing-bwe Township.
The cooperative is continuing with the capacity-building activities with the hands-on mentoring with the staff and formal training for the members of the Board of Directors.
Dir. U Myo Aung conferring with PF and CDA
Director U Myo Aung, a senior officer of the Department of Cooperatives based in Nay Pyi Taw visited the Project office in Hpa-an and conferred with PF and CDA. The visit was part of the monitoring activities of the DOC with its partner institutions. Director U Myo Aung was accompanied by U Hsan Aung, Kayin State Cooperative Officer and U Lin Khaing, Chairperson of the Union of Cooperative Syndicates (UCS) in Hlaing-bwe Township.
U Hsan Aung, Kayin State Cooperative Officer; Dir. U Myo Aung and wife; Dr. Than Naing, CDA Program Manager; Daw Myo Myo Htun, PF NTC for Cooperatives; and, U Lin Khaing, chairperson, Hlaing-bwe UCS
The new government decided to trim down the number of ministries resulting to the dissolution of the Ministry of Cooperatives and its departments merged with the Ministry of Commerce. The visit of the DOC officials and UCS representative was timely as the Project was preparing for the launching of the BYTM cooperative in May 11 and the holding of a national conference on June 2-3, 2016.
Participants to the training listening to a presentation
As part of the series of Cooperative Formation Courses (CFC), the Training on Basic Cooperative Financial Management was conducted last March 30, 31 and April 1. It was attended by thirty-five participants from the officers and staff of the Bawa Yae Touk Myit Cooperative, CDA staff and officers of its civil society organizations (CSO) partners and the officers and staff of Union Cooperative Syndicates (UCS) both at the state and township level.
Group dynamics and structured learning exercises (SLE)
The topics covered in the training included basic management, budgeting, business planning, financial recording and review of the lending process.
Participant receiving certificate of participation
Three newly-hired staff of the cooperative participated in the training as part also of the preparation for the launching of the cooperative and the start of the lending operations. An office at the Hlaing-bwe Township was selected and is undergoing repairs and upgrading. The launching was agreed to be held on May 11.