The Cypress Credit Union joined alongside other credit unions across Canada to provide mentorship to women in developing countries. Female credit union managers from Kenya, Uganda, Ghana, Swaziland and the Philippines, arrived in Ottawa early September to take part in this professional development opportunity.
A total of 10 credit unions participated, including the Cypress Credit Union branch in Maple Creek. This annual Women’s Mentorship Program is in its 17th year. The Cypress Credit Union has hosted a total of six women since then.
This year the Maple Creek branch hosted Kubura Abdul-Rahman from Ghana. Kubura has been the operations manager at WA Community Co-operative Credit Union for the past year in Ghana. Kubura spent a total of 10 days in Maple Creek working with the credit union. Kubura came into the mentorship program with some goals in mind of things she wanted to learn and take back with her. She says she was able to learn a lot in just in her first few days.
“I noticed how management involves staff a lot in achieving their goals,” she said. “The staff are more involved; they are all so ready, cheerful and pleasant. I was asking the HR, how come the staff here are so happy? Little incentives here and there, I am learning that they help a lot.”
During her 10-day stay, Kubura also got to experience some of the sights Canada has to offer. She was taken on a trip to Johnston Canyon located in Banff, Alta., where she was able to see snow for the first time in her life. Kubura says coming from Ghana, though it is a peaceful country, there isn’t much organization, something that stood out to her here in Canada.
“It is an organized country, people are good, the traffic is working, there is places to cross the road. Growing up in Ghana, it’s not like that,” she said.
Kubura received practical training every day from things pertaining to HR, governance, loans, deposits and investments. The goal is to answer questions and learn about things can help improve their credit union. Canadian credit union managers volunteer their time, training materials, transportation and accommodation for the overseas participants.
Senior loans officer Breanne Williams, who had the opportunity to work with Kubura, says though the whole process is a learning experience for the women involved, it enriches both the mentors and the mentees.
“The program is based on the sixth co-operative principle, co-operation among co-operatives. I am very thankful that the Cypress Credit Union has had the opportunity to partner with the Canadian Co-operative Association in making a difference for Credit Unions in Africa and Asia. As mentors and hosts we also learn and grow our experience personally and professionally,” she said.
The Women’s Mentorship Program is part of a global initiative to empower women in positions of leadership. Since it began in 2002, CCA’s Women’s Mentorship Program has trained 217 women from 19 countries with more than 200 Canadian credit unions hosting and sharing their knowledge.