Malawi is known as the 'warm heart of Africa' and we are certainly experiencing the warmth and welcome of the people here.
The first week in Blantyre finished off with our meeting with the MUDI SACCO board of directors. This 7 person board is comprised of professionals that work in one of the 59 companies this SACCO serves. The discussion with them to share our findings and recommendations was very productive.
The second scheduled visit was to Bvumbe Community SACCO which is a town on the outskirts of Blantyre. Bvumbe serves the people of the community and surrounding district. Their manager, Pilirani Rachel Charlie, participated in the CCA Women's Mentoring Program in 2006. For Bev, going to this SACCO was an opportunity to get re-acquainted with Pilirani. She showed us her operation and gave us a demonstration of the Banker's Realm software that is being installed at SACCO's in Malawi. Both Bev and Dave are well acquainted with the eroWORKS retail banking solution that is in use in the Canadian prairie region and we were really impressed with the functionality of Banker's Realm. Bvumbe SACCO has seen rapid growth over the past 5 years - from 1300 to 5000 members in that period - so having software to help manage the member accounts is essential.
Over the weekend we made our way to Majete Wildlife Reserve and had what can only be called a Discovery Channel experience with the animals there. More on this, and some pictures if the Internet connection here co-operates, will be posted later.
Today we are off to visit our third SACCO, which is based at the University here in Blantyre. The final week here in the warm heart of Africa will pass much too quickly!