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Women Empowering Women in Africa and Asia

by Co-operative Development Foundation of Canada
Women Empowering Women in Africa and Asia
Women Empowering Women in Africa and Asia
Women Empowering Women in Africa and Asia
Women Empowering Women in Africa and Asia
Women Empowering Women in Africa and Asia
Women Empowering Women in Africa and Asia
Women Empowering Women in Africa and Asia
Women Empowering Women in Africa and Asia
Women Empowering Women in Africa and Asia
Women Empowering Women in Africa and Asia
Women Empowering Women in Africa and Asia
Women Empowering Women in Africa and Asia
Women Empowering Women in Africa and Asia
Women Empowering Women in Africa and Asia
Women Empowering Women in Africa and Asia
Women Empowering Women in Africa and Asia
Women Empowering Women in Africa and Asia
Women Empowering Women in Africa and Asia
Women Empowering Women in Africa and Asia
Women Empowering Women in Africa and Asia
Women Empowering Women in Africa and Asia
Women Empowering Women in Africa and Asia
Women Empowering Women in Africa and Asia
Women Empowering Women in Africa and Asia
Women Empowering Women in Africa and Asia
Women Empowering Women in Africa and Asia
Women Empowering Women in Africa and Asia
Women Empowering Women in Africa and Asia
Women Empowering Women in Africa and Asia
Women Empowering Women in Africa and Asia
Women Empowering Women in Africa and Asia
Women Empowering Women in Africa and Asia
Women Empowering Women in Africa and Asia
Women Empowering Women in Africa and Asia
Women Empowering Women in Africa and Asia
Women Empowering Women in Africa and Asia
Women Empowering Women in Africa and Asia
Women Empowering Women in Africa and Asia
Women Empowering Women in Africa and Asia
Women Empowering Women in Africa and Asia
Women Empowering Women in Africa and Asia
Women Empowering Women in Africa and Asia
Graduation ceremony of the WMP - May 2019 edition
Graduation ceremony of the WMP - May 2019 edition

The 2019 edition of CDF Canada's Women Mentorship Program just closed in May 2019 and was a great success, both for the participants and for the host Credit Unions. 

CDF Canada was lucky to host and training 15 women coming from 14 different countries who were leaders in the credit union in their countries and eager to learn. Below is the testimony of one of our participants who came from Nigeria to benefit from:

- Strengthening the professional, technical and leadership skills of women managers, empowerment to become change agents in their countries.

- Developing and building stronger cooperative credit unions (Financial cooperatives) around the world.

- Building leaders and Supporting better livelihoods and greater economic opportunities in communities around the world

- Experiencing the Canadian life with the host and learning about the country

 

MY LEARNING POINT IN CDF CANADA:

I learnt greatly from this program and my exposure to how cooperative can impact a community and the society at large have increased in the following:

- Using cooperatives as a tool in nation building and human capital development,

- Using community services towards self-sufficiency and sustainability,

- Practical cooperation amongst cooperatives: I saw knowledge sharing, technical sharing, technology sharing, group community projects sharing, Risk sharing amongst cooperatives, they were always willing and ready to help each other, there was no competition amongst them, even when there was, it was a healthy competition towards growth and development.

- There was a central control system, database management of all cooperatives members, regulatory and supervisory rules, Ethical Standards/Code of conducts, general operation practices, information sharing.

- Board of Directors governance style, Corporate governance, Risk management, Loans management, Equity/dividend sharing.

- Succession Planning. Leadership development planning, members participation & Member services,

- Mechanized farming at its best, Cow ranching & care, Green House farming, Horses care, Food storage. All year round farming.

 

IMPORTANCE OF THE COOPERATIVE MOVEMENT:

The cooperative movement is a great tool in nation building, if the cooperative movement is

professionally practice, its rules and regulations adhered to, the following impact will be felt in

the communities and in the economy as a whole:

- Community development

- Job creation

- Wealth creation

- Culture and ethics preservation

- Improved standard of living

- Health improvement

- Increased knowledge in technology, agriculture, education and indeed in all aspect of life.

- Effective and easy information sharing system.

 

RECOMMENDATION AND CONCLUSION:

Based on my knowledge and experience, I will recommend the following action to be taken for an impactful, effective, professional, and technology driven cooperative movement societies in Nigeria, that aims toward achieving Global best practices, and of course in being the best:

  1. An orientation training program to be carried out all over the country, for sensitization of the global best practices of what and how cooperative movement can become a developmental tool towards nation building, career development, community development and self-sufficiency.
  2. A team of selected cooperative practitioners should be put in place as supervisory committee to start an immediate overhauling of the system.
  3. A central information database control center to be put in place, where with one touch of the button you can get ready and accurate information of all cooperative societies in Nigeria.
  4. An effective recognized single Apex body to control, regulate and supervise and work amicably with all other Apexes for effectiveness, implementation of rules and regulations and for sustainability and continuity.

I am very grateful to have participated in this program and will make sure to share the knowledge in Nigeria and keep looking for ways to improve my skills and grow my career. 

Women participants in training in Ottawa
Women participants in training in Ottawa
Women participants working on group projects
Women participants working on group projects
Women participants working in groups
Women participants working in groups

Links:

Seneca C. Carino and colleagues in the Philippines
Seneca C. Carino and colleagues in the Philippines

­Seneca C. reflected upon her learning and the benefits of participating in the 2018 Women Manager’s Mentorship Program in Canada, 6 months after her return: 

 

"My experiences and learnings from my mentorship course last June 2018 are helping me and my cooperative in various ways.

I was able to share the inputs that I had with CDF Canada and the experiences that I got with my host Credit Union to the members of the Board and officers of my cooperative. I showed them some of the pictures and the hand-outs and reading materials that I brought. They were happy and glad of what I shared and asked me to implement the changes that we could incorporate in our committees and operations.

In our meetings with the Credit Committee I shared the policies of my host Credit Union. We are in the process of revising our policies and also equipping the new members of the committee of the ways to evaluate the loan capacity of our members plus to upgrade their computer skills especially in excel. I also shared the input on the different types of borrowers and to use them in evaluating the attitudes of our members towards loan payments.

We saw the need to properly assess the capacity of members, provide financial counselling, closely monitor their loan payments and to match and create products that are more responsive to members’ needs.

We are also incorporating orientation on gender and development in the ownership seminars that we are giving and financial literacy. We are also equipping our staff to upgrade their knowledge on cooperative operations and computer literacy. Educating our officers and staff are seen as investing in people and also for the sustainability of the cooperative.

Recently we had signed an agreement with the Federation of PFCCO, NATCCO and ACCU on the adoption of a payment platform KAYA. Through this mobile app we will be able to pay our utility bills, buy or transfer cellphone load, remit cash and accept payments at the tip of our fingers and with less time and anywhere. This week our staff had an orientation on how to do the said processes. The next action is we have to market this service to our members.

 

During our meeting with the Manager’s Club, I also gave a written report of my experiences and shared the annual report of my host Credit Union and the Federation of Cooperatives. They were amazed about the advancement of the cooperative movement in Canada especially with their products and services and the technology that they use to better serve the members. Some of the women managers would also like to have the experience that I got and the men were asking if there is also a manager’s course for male managers. They liked the way on how the reports were presented in the annual reports of both host Credit Union and the Federation. I also shared the brochures of CDF Canada where it is working with the project in Tacloban with the victims of Haiyan through micro-enterprise.

 

Personally, I had been enriched by my experiences. I feel that I have a lot to do and to share with our staff and officers. I am happy that they are responsive to the changes that we are doing. Actually there are times when I feel overwhelmed and humbled. I have a lot to learn and unlearn. Since we are a team, there are times when we need to be patient with one another and to know that some of us are fast learners and the others are still learning the ropes. I feel that I need to be more communicative on how to encourage and affirm others that they doing good and becoming better.

 

I wish to thank you all for collaboration of the staff of CDF Canada and my host Credit Union for the good things that you are doing for us and for the movement and for making our world a better place to live in.

Seneca C., Sacred Heart Parish Development Cooperative, Quezon City, Philippines."

Sacred Heart Parish Development Cooperative team
Sacred Heart Parish Development Cooperative team
Kaya payment platform - new partner
Kaya payment platform - new partner

We'd like to share with you a heartfelt speech shared with our most recent class of mentorship participants.  

Heidi, a long-time host and mentor in our Women’s Mentorship Program, gave this speech on behalf of Canadian host credit unions at the 2018 Women’s Mentorship Program Closing Ceremony.

As Mahatma Gandhi once said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world”.

Good evening, I am Heidi, Manager of Procedures and Privacy Officer for Interior Savings Credit Union based in Kelowna, BC, and a host in CDF Canada’s Women’s Mentorship Program. I am delighted to be here tonight. While Interior Savings has been involved in this program for the past 7 years, today I would like to say a few words on behalf of ALL the host credit unions.

To mark this very happy occasion, of the 12 graduates of the 2018 Women’s Mentorship Program. Ladies, from the moment you were chosen to participate in this program, your life was forever changed. You have been given a once in a lifetime opportunity to come to Canada to learn from leading credit unions in the Canadian financial sector. While the knowledge you have been imparted with will be invaluable to you in the years ahead, this program was so much more than just gaining knowledge. It was about learning about yourself and what you are capable of.

To know that you can do anything you set your mind to. To empower you with the self-confidence to go back to your home countries to set about making changes in your SACCOS, credit unions and communities, that will impact generations to come. To use all of the knowledge and skills that you have gained, to make a real difference in the lives of others. To be a role model for the next generation of girls in your communities. To be a host credit union is a huge commitment, and it’s something that we at Interior Savings take very seriously.

It’s so important to us that you learn as much as you can, taking back with you the knowledge and tools to make an impact, a positive difference, in the lives of those in your own communities. We know from past participants that their time here with us has allowed them to do so. I have had the great privilege of hosting 7 amazing women in my home over the years: Leticia from Ghana, Alamitu from Ghana, Victoria from Ghana, Noemi from the Philippines, Violet from Kenya, Jane from Kenya and this year, Mercy from Uganda.

All of these ladies have been incredibly special to me and have personally taught me so many life lessons. The most important one, of course, is to be grateful for all of life’s blessings. In fact, we, as hosts, learn just as much from our mentees as they do from us. A true partnership, fulfilling the 6th Co-op Principle of “Co-operation among Co-operatives.” I don’t think it is an exaggeration to say I will be friends with these ladies for life, as we developed such a special bond. This is one of the benefits of this program – the relationships you develop – with your host credit unions, your teachers, staff at CDF Canada, and most importantly with each other.

This is your new Sisterhood. Treasure it, ladies! These are the women you have experienced so many life-changing moments with. Support and empower one another, show togetherness, passion, excellence, and enthusiasm. Be each other’s cheerleaders when you experience your AH-HA moments back home.

I am incredibly proud of all of the women in this program for being so brave to leave their families for a month and travel halfway around the world to stay with people they have never met, and be immersed in a culture they have never experienced before. For some of them, this is the very first time they have even left their home village. That takes enormous strength and courage. Ladies, hold your heads up high when you sit back and reflect on all that you have accomplished this past month.

We know you will make us proud, as you go back to your homes to put all of these practices you have learnt into place…to “Build a Better World”! Thank you. – Delivered by Heidi in Ottawa, June 2018.

Bettyrose and Alexa
Bettyrose and Alexa

Women credit union managers from Mongolia, Nepal, Philippines, Nigeria, Malawi, Uganda and Kenya have completed their placements at credit unions across Canada as part of the eighteenth running of the CDF Canada's annual Women's Mentorship Program.

They have gathered valuable takeaways from the twelve host credit unions that mentored them through their day-to-day operations, policies and services.

 "The combination of classroom learning and credit union placements immerses participants in Canada's credit union culture, providing them with ideas for products, services and management approaches they can apply to their own credit unions back home," says Chima, CDF Canada project officer.

For Alexa, Member Relations Manager at Central 1 Credit Union, the program held extra meaning. "My family were hosts to a Ghanaian credit union manager over a dozen years ago," she says. "My old schoolmates will remember the experience denoted by the wooden bangle I wore, everyday, for years after her visit. It is true what they say about this program deeply affecting the hosts to these inspiring women credit union leaders." 

"Fast forward to my own career in the credit union system, and I had the opportunity to help support this incredible program once more which this time brought a courageous, driven, intelligent leader from Kenya by the name of Bettyrose into our lives. The impact she had on me and everyone she interacted with will be something we carry with us for a very long time. We accomplished quite a bit over ten intensive days - a women-in-tech event, the Co-operatives and Mutuals Canada  Co-operative Congress, and a wide range of learning - from marketing the co-op difference to people leadership to member relations. And there was Betty's first snow experience."

Reflecting on her time in Canada, Bettyrose says she feels she has come into her own with renewed confidence as a leader, and is inspired by the possibilities for further growth she now sees.  

"We have been trained to be effective leaders, manage change and resolve conflicts," says Bettyrose. "We fly out of Canada determined to offer our best to our communities. We are now convinced that co-operatives can indeed make the world a better place to live, and that we have a role to play taking it upon ourselves to go make a difference. We will plan and execute that which we have learned as the professionals we have been made. We commit to share the knowledge we have gained and also mentor others."

 "Mentoring is a fantastic opportunity for Canadian hosts to learn about credit unions in other countries," says Chima, "and to know that by sharing their workplace they have enriched the life of a peer woman credit union leader from a developing country. They are living out the 6th co-operative principle, co-operation among co-operatives, on the global stage."  

Since 2002, 239 women leaders from 21 countries in Africa and Asia have improved their knowledge and skills on a full range of issues related to day-to-day operations of financial co-operatives, built networks and increased their confidence as leaders. Funding for the program is provided by the Government of Canada through Global Affairs Canada, by the Co-operative Development Foundation of Canada, as well as by Canadian credit unions who open their doors, share best practices and welcome fellow co-operators.

WMP picture
WMP picture

Since taking part in CDF Canada’s Women’s Mentorship Program, Obenewaa (right) has improved practices at the small credit union she manages in Kumasi, Ghana. The number of dormant accounts has been lowered by one-third and delinquent loans are down 60%.

CDF Canada’s Women's Mentorship Program is an annual training program that provides women credit union managers of overseas financial co-operatives with a unique opportunity for professional development.

It is also a mutual learning opportunity for Canadians and international co-operators. Program participants are matched up with a credit union in Canada for 10 days and become immersed in the credit union and community. They receive general leadership training and learn the ins and outs of day-to-day operations. Canadian credit union managers volunteer their time, training materials, transportation and accommodation for the overseas participants.

In 2018, the program will welcome a total of 16 women from countries including Ghana, Malawi, Uganda, Mongolia, Nepal, Nigeria, Kenya, Rwanda and the Philippines.  

Your continuing support means that more women like Obenewaa, and the 16 others joining us this year, can gain the confidence to take on more roles and change more lives in their local communities.

 

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Organization Information

Co-operative Development Foundation of Canada

Location: Ottawa, ON - Canada
Website:
Twitter: @CDFCanada
Project Leader:
David Dern
Fundraising Officer
Ottawa, ON Canada
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