MADISON, Wis. — Success Swanzi Mbiliyawaka, business development coordinator with the Malawi Union of Savings & Credit Co-operatives (MUSCCO), knows that professional progress is best made through the support of friends and a strong network of peers. Raise that network to a global level, she believes, and there is no limit to what can be done.
Mbiliyakawa was able to raise the stakes on her professional success thanks to a 2011 scholarship from the Global Women's Leadership Network, a World Council of Credit Unions initiative that addresses the contributions and needs of women credit union leaders worldwide. The network has issued a call for applications for this year's scholarships, which will cover registration fees and partial travel costs for women from developing credit union movements to take part in the 2012 Global Women's Leadership Forum, July 14–15, in conjunction with World Council's World Credit Union Conference in Gdańsk, Poland.
The network and forum bring together women from developing and developed countries in an environment designed to enhance participants' capabilities to better meet the challenges faced by credit unions in their own countries, according to World Council President and CEO Brian Branch.
"We know from experience the critical importance women play among their families, communities and credit unions," Branch said. "The Global Women's Leadership Network is designed to offer new ways to increase personal and professional capabilities through the strength of the network and its members."
The scholarships are designed to promote access to the annual forum and related events for eligible women leaders from developing credit union movements. Qualified recipients must demonstrate both financial need and successful contributions to their communities, credit unions and/or credit union systems. Preference will be given to recipients from diverse backgrounds who the evaluation committee feels have the most to gain from the experience. Scholarships are funded by network membership dues and the Canadian Cooperative Association, which is financially supporting the program for the second year.
For Mbiliyawaka, one of 11 scholarship recipients from 2011, the experience offered tremendous value both personally and professionally.
"It is a seed," Mbiliyawaka said. "Small as a seed may be, the harvest is always bigger and repetitive. Our women in credit unions will go beyond inclusion to being empowered and become mentors to others."
Scholarship applications for 2012 must be received at World Council's Madison, Wis. (USA), headquarters by March 31. Scholarship offers will be made to successful candidates by the end of April.
For more information, please visit www.cuwomen.org/membership/scholarships or contact Nicole Bice at firstname.lastname@example.org or +1-608-395-2027.
For more information about the World Credit Union Conference in Gdańsk, Poland, visit www.LetsGdansk2012.org.
World Council of Credit Unions is the global trade association and development agency for credit unions. World Council promotes the sustainable development of credit unions and other financial cooperatives around the world to empower people through access to high quality and affordable financial services. World Council advocates on behalf of the global credit union system before international organizations and works with national governments to improve legislation and regulation. Its technical assistance programs introduce new tools and technologies to strengthen credit unions' financial performance and increase their outreach.
World Council has implemented more than 290 technical assistance programs in 71 countries. Worldwide, 57,000 credit unions in 105 countries serve 217 million people. Learn more about World Council's impact around the world at www.woccu.org.