Ayan Mohamud (AM): Can you briefly tell us where you have been and for what?
Slyvester Kadzola (SK): I usually get invites from international cooperative leagues to share notes and experiences about the cooperative movement in Malawi. Whether it is facilitating training workshops in Zambia or Swaziland, to attending seminars and conferences in South Korea, Australia, Canada, Ireland, USA, Ghana, Kenya or Brazil. Along with workshops and seminars, I have conducted many studies on cooperatives in Malawi and Africa for international partners.
AM: Are there any suggestions that MUSCCO has taken from other international cooperatives?
SK: Out of my travels, the different conferences/workshops I have attended, the one similarity that I have noticed that contributed to SACCO success in different countries was that SACCOs were professionalized. There is a correlation between the success of SACCOs that have professionalized management and those that didn’t. That is something I am pushing here for, to professionalize the SACCO movement. Another innovation we are looking into is developing a deposit guarantee for SACCOs and we are looking at how different countries use insurance for deposit guarantees.
AM: You have been on the Board of Directors with the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) for 15 years, how has this benefited the cooperative movement and what feedback do you get about MUSCCO?
SK: I not only represent MUSCCO and Malawi in general, but also the cooperative movement in Africa. Sitting on the board of directors with WOCCU has helped the cooperative movement in Malawi to become more visible, more well known and get the recognition it deserves on an international platform. More partners have come to know Malawi and this led us to make connections and contacts with other international cooperative organizations, partners such as the Canadian Cooperative Association, USAID and the Royal Norwegian Embassy and all these connections come from us sitting on that board. It has also helped other cooperative organizations on the ground to seek us for help and to work with us on building capacity with their own cooperatives. The feedback we have gotten, is that even though we are small country with a growing cooperative industry, we have other countries coming to us for our expertise and view us as experts in strengthening cooperatives.