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Quick 10
Joel Inglis in Ghana with youth savings students
How does Joel Inglis describe his Ghana internship in one word?
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It's International Youth Day!!
Today is a day to promote and support youth development around the world.  For the past 17 years CCA has been offering Canadian youth interns work experience in various projects around the world.  They work in fields such as co-operative business development, social research, HIV/AIDS education, gender & development, community economic development and youth employment.  While providing invaluable experience to the interns our partners also greatly benefit from these placements.  On their return to Canada many CCA interns continue to contribute to the co-operative movement.   
Joel Inglis is a great example of this.  Take a couple of minutes on International Youth Day  to read about Joel's experience as a CCA intern working with youth savings clubs in Ghana and check out his "Quick 10" profile on the left.
  Joel Inglis with youth savings club members in Ghana
"You're not there to impart knowledge.  You're there to participate in knowledge sharing."  Joel Inglis (centre with youth savings club members)
Teaching the future

"It's a two-part process, says Joel Inglis, on the phone from Nova Scotia.  He is talking about the youth savings club program he worked on in Ghana while there last year as a CCA intern.  "One part education, teaching young Ghanaian about savings and running a small business and the other part is recruitment, getting young blood into the credit union system." 



With 40 percent of Ghana's population being under the age of 15 and the average age of credit union members being 41, this "young blood" is integral to the system, "there is definitely a disconnect between the population and the credit union membership" notes Joel.


It was a visit to Canada in 1998 by Aba Smith, a headmistress and credit union member from Tokaradi in Ghana, that inspired the idea of youth savings clubs.  On her return to Ghana she immediately began a club in her own school and it escalated from there.  CCA sent it's first youth savings club intern to Ghana in 2002 to help establish and grow the program.


This two-part process seems to be working as Ghanaian youth are getting invaluable savings and business lessons and also staying in the credit union system after school.  "Some of the people who were the first youth savings club members are now managing credit unions," says Joel,  "I met a handful of people who are working on the credit union movement, sitting on boards etc who are all former youth savings club members." 


Joel himself has also stayed within the credit union system, now employed at the Sydney Credit Union in Nova Scotia, his home province. 


The youth savings club initiative has proven so successful it has been extended to projects in Malawi and Uganda, teaching even more youth the value of saving for the future.  


So what does Joel see as the future for these young Ghanaian savers?  "Teach them the skills and hopefully they will be the next wave of people pushing the movement forward.  They will be smart savers, borrowers and leaders in the movement."  



To learn more about the Ghana Youth Savings Clubs watch this short video An Investment in the Future: Ghana's Youth Savings Club's


To learn more about CCA's volunteer internship program visit us here.


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