OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (4/25/13)--A 12-month internship hosted by CNBS has provided Christopher Hamera, a third-year economics student from Africa University in Zimbabwe, an opportunity to learn about credit unions.
Christopher Hamera, a third-year economics student from Africa University in Zimbabwe, is serving a 12-month internship hosted by CNBS, an investment adviser that serves credit unions nationwide. (Photo provided by CNBS)
CNBS is an Overland Park, Kan.-based investment adviser serving credit unions nationwide.
Two days after arriving in the U.S. on Feb. 18 Hamera flew to Washington, D.C., to attend the Credit Union National Association's Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC). Jeff Carpenter, CUNA vice president of membership development, arranged a tour of CUNA's Washington, D.C., offices for Hamera during the GAC.
"It was a wonderful experience," Hamera said of the GAC. "I met so many people from credit unions across the U.S. I learned a great deal about America's credit unions, and also the political system, hearing from so many credit union leaders and government officials. It was a good opportunity to learn about the important role credit unions play in the U.S. economy, and I hope to be able to use my experience here to benefit the SACCO system in Malawi."
Malawi, the fifth-poorest country in the world, has a system of 26 credit unions called Savings and Credit Cooperative Organizations (SACCOs). Sylvester Kadzola, the president of the Malawian SACCO trade organization, the Malawi Union of Savings and Credit Cooperative Organizations (MUSCCO), serves on the board of directors of the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU).
"CUNA and WOCCU have been supportive of and helpful to the internship," said Brian Hague, CNBS president/CEO.
Hamera was originally scheduled to arrive in the U.S. in January. "The first challenge was getting Christopher here," Hague said. "We thought we had his visa application process taken care of last summer; but when he went to the embassy to pick it up the week before Christmas, we ran into a snag."
Hague had to re-submit the 35-page application form, followed by a 115-page response to a request for further information, and the visa was approved shortly thereafter.
The four-leg, 35-hour international flight was another first for Hamera, who had never flown before.
Since February, Hamera has been at CNBS, learning more about the credit union movement, and investment and risk management. He completed a week of in-house training, which Hague said was based on coursework from CNBS' Institute Series. Hamera is involved in various projects, including a market peer comparison, assisting in CNBS' accounting department, and preparing daily market information summaries.