Women credit union leaders arrive for mentoring experience of a lifetime
OTTAWA, September 11, 2017 − Women credit union managers from Kenya, Uganda, Ghana, Swaziland and the Philippines have converged on Ottawa this week to begin what over two hundred women before them call the professional development opportunity of a lifetime. The seventeenth running of the Co-operative Development Foundation of Canada's annual Women's Mentorship Program is about to begin and ten host credit unions across Canada are ready to mentor the visitors through their day-to-day operations, policies and services.
 
The combination of classroom learning and placements in credit unions 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. Program manager Laurie Tennian says mentoring benefits both hosts and visitors. "It's a fantastic opportunity for Canadian hosts to learn about credit unions in other countries, 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."
 
Tennian says she receives regular updates from past participants describing how they are putting their mentorship experience to work.
 
Jayne Taylor (left) hosted and mentored Obenewaa Yeboah last year.

Obenewaa Yeboah, manager of Ramseyer Credit Union in Kumasi, Ghana, returned home with ideas she gleaned during her mentorship with Jayne Taylor, VP Member Experience and Business Management at Prospera Credit Union in Vancouver last year. She made changes to the way her credit union attracts members, recovers loans and governs itself. In just one year, dormant member accounts have dropped by one-third, delinquent loans are down 60% and board and staff have put plans in place to continue growth for years to come.
 
"Thanks to CCA for the opportunity given to Ramseyer Credit Union to participate in last year's program, and to my host Jayne Taylor and Prospera Credit Union for sharing their skills and knowledge with me," says Yeboah. "All these experiences have impacted positively on me and my credit union."
 
"During her time with us, a team of almost a dozen female leaders within Prospera spent time with Obenewaa, sharing best practices in a wide variety of areas including everything from human resources to lending, credit and risk, operations, financial reporting and planning," says Jayne Taylor, Vice President of Member Experience & Business Management with Prospera. 
 
"This was the second time I've participated in the Women's Mentorship Program and both times it has been an amazing learning experience. Obenewaa is a bright and talented young woman whose commitment to helping her members make better financial decisions is a great asset to her credit union and community."
 
This year's program runs from September 11 through October 5, when participants celebrate their graduation before returning home.
 
Since 2002, 219 women leaders from 19 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.
 
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To learn more about the Women's Mentorship Program contact:
Laurie.Tennian@coopscanada.coop
 
The Co-operative Development Foundation of Canada (CDF)
 is a registered charitable organization. It raises money, mostly from Canadian co-operatives and co-op members, and delivers programs to help smallholder farmers and producers achieve prosperity by building and strengthening financial and non-financial co-ops in developing countries. CDF amalgamated with the Canadian Co-operative Association (CCA) this summer and will launch its new brand this fall.
 
Canadian Co-operative Association programs are undertake with the financial support of the Government of Canada provided through Global Affairs Canada

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