Strengthening financial inclusion in Uganda

Women’s Mentorship Program ECHO Uganda graduation ceremony in Kampala

Since 2002, CDF Canada, in partnership with over 200+ credit unions across Canada, has been hosting the annual Women’s Mentorship Program (WMP). WMP is a flagship initiative that invests in women to improve financial inclusion in communities across the world. The target audience are credit union women leaders from Africa, Asia and the Americas. In 18 years, the Program has supported over 250 women from 26 countries and has had a profound impact on encouraging debate and action about gender roles and responsibilities at home and in the workplace.

However, WMP can only cover a fraction of the real training needs of fellow cooperators globally. In January 2020, CDF Canada, with the financial assistance of the Manitoba Council for International Cooperation (MCIC), supported the Women’s Mentorship Program ECHO Uganda, in Kampala. This innovative intervention to extend professional training for credit union women leaders from Uganda, builds on the domestic leadership of three local WMP alumnae – Mercy (WMP 2017), Dorothy (WMP 2018) and Ritah (WMP 2019). It was a homegrown initiative that aimed to respond to the extensive need for skills and leadership development in the Ugandan credit union community. Building on their Canadian experience, Mercy, Dorothy and Ritah, tailored a comprehensive training program that brought together 15 credit union women managers from every corner of Uganda.

The program was co-hosted by the Uganda Cooperative Savings and Credit Union (UCSCU) and is a reflection of the need for sustained skills development in the Ugandan credit union sector, particularly targeting women leaders. To address other training needs, UCSCU has also created a Training Academy, which aims to act as a centre of training and excellence for Ugandan credit union stakeholders and regional cooperators.

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