At the bottom of Mount Kenya in the Tharaka-Nithi County lies the small town of Chuka with a population of 19,000. It is there that a local credit union thrives. Thamani Sacco Ltd. is a medium sized credit union, founded in 1987 with a complement of thirty employees. The staff serves 13,162 members in a region that is reliant on agriculture; many of their members are coffee, tea, or dairy farmers. The leader of this credit union, known as a Sacco in Africa, is Rose Gatakaa Kithinji and she has been accepted into the Canadian Cooperative Association (CCA) Women’s Mentorship Program.
Integris is pleased to host Rose and by extension, the CCA Women’s Mentorship Program. The CCA has designed an annual training program for women leaders of overseas financial cooperatives that provides a unique opportunity for professional development. The goal of the program is to provide women with the technical skills and knowledge to help them achieve and succeed in leadership positions in their cooperatives. Rose joined the Integris staff on September 27th and will return to Kenya on October 3rd, taking back gained experience, knowledge and leadership skills.
“There is an important underlying message that can be seen through the Women’s Mentorship Program and it is that there is a world movement of cooperatives helping each other out”, says Joan Burdeniuk, Manager of Social Responsibility at Integris. “We share our knowledge, we work together and we enrich our communities. We have the same values, the same goals and when we meet, we know that we part of something bigger – a cooperative movement that is making a difference on a global scale,” concludes Burdeniuk.
The Women’s Mentorship Program is a mutual learning opportunity for Canadian and international cooperators, one that has been shown to support changes that contribute directly to the poverty reduction goals of the CCA’s larger international development program. Direct impacts include more children (including girls) attending school, more community members (including women) having access to credit, an improved standard of living, an improved awareness of gender sensitivity for women in leadership roles, as well as improved social responsibility initiatives in communities.
“This year we are thrilled to be able to participate in the Program once again. Rose has been working with the Integris team in Quesnel learning about everything from the 5 C’s of credit to governance and change management. Her Canadian counterpoints have been learning more about how savings and credit cooperatives operate in other countries, increasing the global mindset of all,” concludes David Bird, President and CEO of Integris.
|Posted by Joan Burdeniuk – Manager, Corporate Social Responsibility / Branch Manager|