+353 (0) 1 614 6700
+353 (0) 1 614 6700

Volunteer Coaching Programme, 2023

Sierra Leone, 2023

Volunteer Coaching Programme

After almost three years, the Foundation were delighted to run the Volunteer Coaching Programme in Sierra Leone again. The volunteers who took part in 2023 were George Hamilton – Link Credit Union, Ted O’Sullivan – Douglas Credit Union, Mary Peters – Health Services Staff Credit Union and Martin Cumiskey – Crossmaglen Credit Union. The group spent two weeks in-country sharing their credit union expertise, knowledge, and skills with their credit union peers to build the capacity of the credit union staff and directors in Sierra Leone.


The volunteers worked in pairs during their visits to the credit unions. The first credit union visit lasted for four days. Mary and Ted, accompanied by Janet Sia Kallon, Monitoring Officer, travelled to Moyamba Teachers Credit Union. While George and Martin George and Martin, accompanied by Esther Bangura, Monitoring Officer, travelled to Bayconfields Credit Union. They reviewed the operations and governance by working alongside staff and Board members. They facilitated a session on Business Planning at the end of their visit. They met with the Board to discuss suggestions for improving the credit union’s operations and governance and put recommendations in place.


The second visit was shorter, with the volunteers spending two days in each credit union. George and Martin visited U.P.S. Credit Union, based in Freetown, in a bustling market. At the same time, Mary and Ted’s next stop was Tawopaneh Credit Union, also based in Freetown. Here, both teams provided support to staff and the Board. Following a review of their operations, they presented to the Board highlighting recommendations to implement to help further strengthen the credit union.


The volunteers also ran a Leadership workshop for credit union staff and Boards on the key areas identified from the visits. They shared lessons among participants about the challenges of credit unions and exchanged ideas further to strengthen the credit union movement in the country.


As part of their time in Sierra Leone, the volunteers also had an opportunity to meet at the Embassy of Ireland with Ambassador Claire Buckley and Emma McLoughlin. They shared their experiences volunteering in Sierra Leone and what they have learned from the credit unions there. 


Speaking about the programme, Solomon Mwongyere, General Manager, ILCUF Ltd, thanked the volunteers, “you have provided a lot of support to our credit union. Thank you for coming to Sierra Leone and sharing your knowledge to upskill the credit union staff and volunteers, we really appreciate it and we have learned a great deal from you.”


On their return, the volunteers met with Seán Fleming, Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs with special responsibility for International Development and Diaspora at Iveagh House, to discuss their experience and the importance of credit unions to provide much-needed access to financial services. The Foundation’s work in Sierra Leone is funded by Irish Credit Unions and Irish Aid.


Thank you to our volunteers and their credit unions, Mary Peters – Health Services Staff Credit Union, Ted O’Sullivan – Douglas Credit Union, George Hamilton – Link Credit Union and Martin Cumiskey – Crossmaglen Credit Union, for giving up their time to support the credit union movement in Sierra Leone!