Monday, April 30, 2012

Philippines - April 2012

Our April 2012 trip to the Philippines was a wonderful experience!  We were not only with the CCT/Philippines staff, but representatives of our Sri Lankan, South African, and Ugandan microfinance partners for training provided by CCT on "Establishing and Multiplying Healthy Microfinance Branches".  CCT has 140 branches around the Philippines, and the other participating MFIs have no more than 5, so there was much to learn from our Filipino sisters and brothers.  This was one more module in the Strategic Training Initiative (STI) partnership between CCT and PEER Servants aimed to train smaller Christian MFIs in key aspects of Christian microfinance.

Filipinos, Sri Lankans, Ugandans, and South Africans learning from each other.
PEER Servants Team Uganda volunteers Richard Kinyua, Canga Kamwambe, and Jake Mahon joined PEER Servants President Todd Engelsen on this trip.  In the first half of the trip, they joined the 15 students (including recent new "Team Servants", or Branch Managers, within CCT) in observing all that CCT is doing in and through their microfinance branches.  In fact, CCT is expanding the programs and services offered through the branches to establish community centers, offering vocational training for young men, pre-school education for the children, health care for the family, and even a church plant for the community to complement the microfinance that focuses more so on the women and mothers.  In the second half of the trip, the group migrated to CCT's Tagaytay Retreat and Training Center - a beautiful campus that is just one more example of CCT's wonderful vision becoming reality.  Here training was offered in developing a branch viability model and an opportunity to debrief regarding what the class participants had seen with CCT's branch management, group formation, internal controls, and staff discipleship.

As with any PEER Servants trip, it was a lot of work but not without play!  We were able to overlook the beautiful Taal Volcano while enjoying lunch on one day, did some shopping in one of the Manila markets, became addicted to the "Mafia" game one evening, and caught one of the most amazing sunsets in the world looking west from Manila Bay.  All of this built a very strong fellowship among class participants that led to some sad good byes at the end of the week.

PEER Servants makes two trips each year to the Philippines for the STI training.  The next will be November 9-18, 2012 -- let us know if you'd like to join the trip!