Walter Wilson Nana
The Koinonia – Kaizen philosophy of continuous improvement and innovation introduced by Mgr. Immanuel Bushu, Bishop of Buea Diocese in recent years is ongoing and yielding the expected fruits. After successfully putting in place the payment of school fees by colleges in the Diocese through some banks, the signing of a contract by teachers employed in the various primary, secondary and higher institutions in the Diocese, here comes a micro-finance institution for the teachers of the Diocese of Buea, other staff and the enlarged Christian community.
Christened the Economic of Communion Cooperative Credit Union Limited, EoC Credit Union, the structure was officially made public, Sunday, March 9 2014 with the blessing of Mgr. Bushu. At a formal and briefing meeting of what the venture is all about to the Vice Principals, Deans of Studies and Students, Accountants and Bursars of schools in the Diocese of Buea, at the premises of the Buea Diocesan Catholic Education Secretariat, the Diocesan Education Secretary, Rev.Fr Alexander Nougi Sob said the enormous potentials embedded in Buea Diocese at
the levels of spirituality, morality and finances must be harnessed in a proper and organised manner.
He explained why the resources of the Diocese must be put together for better management. “We have to handle the advantages that come out of our resources as spill over. We have realised that if the members of the education family spearhead the credit union, by the time we get our finances into the institution, we will be able to handle other financial
challenges that come our way. The micro-finance is one of the best and modern financial methods of managing finances and giving other financial advantages to the teachers and other departments of the Diocese. The Diocese profits by being able to sustain itself and move on with other projects, while the welfare of the teachers is also looked into.”
With the brochures already circulating within the Diocese, Fr. Sob said it is self explanatory, with detailed information on the modalities of subscription, how to get shares and more. “A regular subscriber is sure of a house, a plot and even a car by the time he or she goes on retirement. The advantages differ with the degree of commitment and engagement. We are getting all the teachers involved because we can harness issues like fees, salaries, pocket money, allowances, budgeting and more. All these will be handled as a package in the credit union. The experts are amongst our teachers and some external consultants will be invited as we progress so that we get the best of efficient management, personnel and advantages given to the teachers.”
The Education Secretary will reassure the teachers and the Christian community that the target market is the education family of the Diocese, which is made up of more than 30,000 people. “This is a number we cannot joke with. The others in the market are not sure of these potential individuals. We are stable, the teachers are sure of their salaries every month. Now, we are taking them to another level to be able to save money, take loans and build houses. This is a new twist to our philosophy of koinonia-kaizen. In the past, our teachers were not sure of their salaries and other dues. Today, the story is not same. So, we are making progress. That is the spirit of Catholicism, Christianity and within our teachers; we have experts that can better manage their resources. That is the difference between us and others. Our target market is certain and defined already, including some of our Christians,” he said.
Fr. Sob mentioned that the Diocese of Buea is making efforts to perfect a system that has been bad, noting that they are not against any structure or institution but they cannot stay behind in a world that is going global and moving extremely fast. “The welfare of our teachers is a no go zone. Our responsibilities at the Education Secretariat include making the teachers better and to take a step ahead in their profession. The Bishop of Buea Diocese is supporting his teachers and so the teachers must also protect their Bishop,” he added.
He invited his collaborators to be available, show collective empowerment, transformational leadership and give a listening hear to their students, parents and users of their services. “We are in a new school of thought, fighting resistance to change, which is not just for change sake. Where there is progress the devil is strong,” Fr. Sob said.
Legal Adviser to the Buea Diocese, Barrister Innocent Bonu mentioned that the Bishop of Buea is working in tandem with the Canon Law, which gives the Catholic Church, the Dioceses the leeway to look out for alternative ways to sustain themselves and their activities and not always wait for the Vatican to send money to them. “The church sustaining itself means they are sustaining the Christians. While preaching the word of God Jesus Christ healed through food. We must uplift the Christians. We are helping God by creating. It is legal and good.”
Bursar at Christ The King College, Tiko, Erica Ekoko lauded the initiative, adding the EoC Credit Union has come to facilitate the financial transactions of the Diocese, the schools in particular and a decent way for teachers to handle their finances. “As we progress, let our teachers open bigger accounts, build houses and drive in a car of their choice,” she wished.
Julius Nkwantang, Vice Principal, St. Francis College, Fiango, Kumba corroborated Ekoko, saying it has been a long time wish from the teachers in the Diocese of Buea. “Since it has come, teachers in this Diocese will smile. Our sufferings will be put to rest. With God’s grace we will progress and be counted like any other teachers. Let all the teachers in the Diocese of Buea be proud of themselves, be married and live a happy life like any other person,” he noted.
Earlier, a representative of the administrators of the Catholic Education family, Mrs Judith Borno Angafor, enjoined the hard working staff of the Catholic Education family in the Diocese to maintain sanity and growth as inspired by the sitting Education Secretary, Rev.Fr Sob.
She will request for the putting in place of a promised Credit Union for the Catholic Education family, which has now come to fruition.