On the first day of my internship with the Microfinance and Community Development Organization (MFCDO), the executive director, Godwin Ofori-Atta, and I discussed what I might do in my two months with the organization. Knowing that this NGO has several programs and projects centered
Above right, MFCDO Director Godwin Ofori-Atta reviews the details of a savings plan to susu clients.
With the assistance of the MFCDO office staff, I embarked on the task of implementing two financial literacy workshop series: one for susu agents, and one for susu clients. The first
step in organizing these workshops was to determine the needs of each group. What do susu agents, the daily collectors of small savings, need to know in order to better serve their
To answer these questions, I talked to the office staff and accompanied the susu-agent supervisor, Florence, on her daily rounds to each of the 20 susu agents. I learned that susu agents were unclear on the principles of credit and debit and interest rates and that susu clients wished to work on basic record keeping and ways that they could expand their trade. The initial survey administered (unscientifically, I must admit) to susu clients indicated that the majority was unaware of some of the microfinance products offered by their susu agency.
Directed by this mini-investigation into the needs of both employees and clients of the agency as well as my own observations of activity in the market and the microfinance sphere, I outlined agendas for the first workshops for the agents and the clients. The first agent workshop, which was held on a Saturday morning, focused on an in-depth review on the products and services offered by the agency, and also included lessons on customer service, credit and debit, and a review of the redenominated currency which set 10,000 Ghana cedis to one new Ghana cedi (while the Ghana cedi was redenominated over a year ago, in July 2007, many Ghanaians still conduct financial transactions with verbiage of the old currency). The first workshop for the clients focused on lessons in bookkeeping and the redenomination of the cedi, and it included a session on the financial products and services offered and ways that a loan can be used for business expansion. Both workshops included a presentation by an office-staff member, role-playing to practice products presentation (for susu agents) and financial transactions in the new Ghana cedi (for both agents and clients), and skills development in small groups of three to four individuals.
Once the agenda was set (and reviewed and approved by the office staff), I created the necessary materials, worked with Florence (the susu-agent supervisor) so that she felt comfortable leading some of the lessons, and held a dress rehearsal the day before each workshop. While the director mandated that the susu agents attend their respective workshop, Florence and the other office-staff members and the susu agents were vital in advertising the workshop for the clients. Above, Florence presents to susu agents.