International Dispatch

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CCA is seeking hosts for the 2016 WMP participants

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CCA is seeking applications for our Women's Mentorship Program to be held
May 30 - June 24, 2016 
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CCA is a not-for-profit
 co-operative with a mission to establish and grow
co-operatives internationally that build a better world.


To achieve this mission, CCA works closely with Canadian co-operatives and credit unions to channel their knowledge and experience to partner organizations and 
co-operatives in Africa, Asia, the Americas, Eastern Europe and Caribbean.


Volume 10, Number 01, January 14, 2016
Winning awards and meeting Presidents.
For Ann Wachera Mbaabu, attending the 2015 CCA Women's Mentorship Program (WMP) capped an already singular year in her life. This past November, Ann was awarded the Joe Biden award for Development Educator of the Year at the credit union "Oscars" in England.
This achievement comes just after Ann met with US President Barack Obama during the Summer.  At the behest of the Gates Foundation, she and a small group of young women leaders attended a special conference at Kenyatta University in Nairobi. At the conference, Ann met the US President, who congratulated her for her achievements. "He really impressed and inspired me, says Ann. "He said 'well done, and keep up the great work.' And so I am!"  
Ann Mbaaru profile
Ann Mbaabu from Kenya attended this year's WMP in Canada.
Ann landed in Canada to attend the WMP this past fall with a mission - to grow the membership of the credit union she manages in Mombasa, Kenya.  It's not like Ann hasn't done a great job since taking the helm of Stima SACCO's newest branch in 2012, membership grew from 450 to 8,000 members.
It was at a conference in Leosotho, held by ACCOSCA (the pan-African confederation of national associations of savings and credit cooperatives societies) Ann heard about the Women's Mentorship Program and decided to travel half way around the world to Canada. The Women's Mentorship Program is CCA's annual professional development program for women credit union managers in developing countries.
Having learnt about the tremendous success Vancity Credit Union in BC has achieved, Ann was eager to learn how Canadian credit unions operated.

I was amazed how many people in Africa knew about Vancity", says Tracey Kliesch, Vancity Community Investment Portfolio Manager who had attended an ACCOSCA conference in Johannesburg.  Tracey, a seasoned CCA volunteer credit union coach with two missions to Ghana under her belt recalls  "In Ghana I was working hands-on with credit unions. In Johannesburg, I could see what was happening in credit union sectors across Africa, they were on the cusp of doing really great things."
The stage was being set for these two women, credit union managers from different parts of the world, to meet.

Ann then flew to Vancouver to spend 10 days meeting with managers in every department of Vancity.
 "Ann has so much to offer," says Tracey, "She is destined to lead credit unions in Kenya and Africa to growth and success."   Ann also made a big impression at Vancity, "Just by seeing Ann here, we learned that there are credit unions in Africa led by knowledgeable leaders," says Tracey, "Stima's asset size is very large, over CAD1.5 Billion. They are sophisticated. Ann's visit has opened up that world for people who have never really thought about
Ann from Kenya and Tracy from Vancity
Ann and Tracey in BC, Canada.
"We are so much more alike than different," adds Tracey. "We share so many challenges as women trying to balance a life, a career and a family. We both want to grow our members, create meaningful experiences with them and build our business that way, not by offering cheaper rates, but by differentiating ourselves as SACCOS and credit unions. I think this applies the world over."
So, what did Ann take back from her time with Vancity? "Like Vancity, I will forge stronger linkages between our credit union and our community," she says. "By centering all that we do around the community and its needs, our products, services and solutions will be relevant and well received."
"Vancity provides space for business clients to market themselves, a win-win where they build strong links with the business community and businesses get exposure. They encourage youth to help design new innovative products. Their financial literacy programs teach people to save and make smart money decisions that are environmentally and socially sustainable."
"For me, mentoring is something that just keeps moving out among women, like ripples in a pond. I believe that we all have it within ourselves to change the course of world events. It begins with taking that first step, of believing in ourselves, and in our dreams. They really can come true."
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GAC acknowledgement