The vision of the Global Women's Leadership Network is to provide women with the opportunity and resources to make a measureable difference in the lives of each other, in the lives of credit union members and in their communities.
WOCCU created and serves as the hub of the network to bring together women from credit union systems around the world.
The network provides credit union professional women with an international network that engages them in professional and personal development through social media and educational forums. The network offers exposure to international perspectives on common challenges that we face across the globe, such as growth strategies, alternative capital, and efficiency in operations. By interacting with other professionals of their same gender in a business forum, women access unlimited resources and learn from the experiences of their peers. These women include credit union executives, board members, and business partners.
You can learn more about the Network and its opportunities on CUWomen.org.
The Global Women's Leadership Network directly supports WOCCU development activities in three countries.
WOCCU has partnered with nine credit unions to increase the overall efficiency and profitability of the credit unions so that they may better serve their members and reach underserved populations. With WOCCU's assistance, one of the participating credit unions launched its first non-correspondent bank, providing financial services through a local retail outlet. In doing so, the credit union expands its presence at a lower cost, the retail outlet increases its sales by attracting new clients, the member benefits from the new convenient location and expanded business hours during which he may conduct financial transactions.
The nine project credit unions have reached over 80,000 members, almost half of which are women. Combined, these women have saved US$18.3 million.
As part of its USDA-funded program in Kenya, Mitigating the Impact of HIV/AIDS on Economic Growth through Credit Union Modernization, WOCCU began working with the Busia Compassionate Centre's orphanage to provide them with access to reliable food resources and education. WOCCU program staff taught Centre volunteers to plant selected crops and fruit trees for better nutrition, introduced irrigation, built an outdoor kitchen and delivered food from farmers financed by credit unions affiliated with the program. The program credit unions also provided scholarships to orphans so that they could attend school, a luxury that many of them cannot afford, which resulted in five high school graduates this year.
Approximately 40% of the farmers supported by the project credit unions are women farmers who otherwise would not have access to financial services or more productive agricultural techniques to increase their production, yield and income. Scholarships were provided to 17 orphans, 10 of which were girls, and of the 5 high school graduates whose school fees were paid by the project, 4 were girls.
In 2009, WOCCU began working with the Women's Development Co-operative Society, a network of more than 120 branches owned and operated entirely by women. The partnership aims to strengthen the institution, expand membership and help increase the agricultural capacity of Sri Lankan women farmers and their families by providing them micro loans and access to savings accounts.
Through WOCCU's partnership in Sri Lanka, the Women's Development Co-operative Society has reached a membership of over 68,500 people. 53% of members have been given loans and more than $5.9 million has been mobilized in savings.