What Does Women Mentorship Program Mean to You?

We speak with participants over the years, and they share their experiences, insights and gains from the Women Mentorship Program 

I learned to forgive myself and worked on growing!

Battsetseg Togtokh, Mongolian Confederation of Credit Unions (MOCCU)

Year of Women Mentorship Program attended: 2011

Women Mentorship Program 2011

After the training, I was more confident, felt inspired, and could forgive myself and others. I learned a lot and expanded my knowledge about the entire credit union system. However, there is still so much to learn. Mongolian CUs are new compared to the Canadian CU movement, so we are grateful for the mentorship.

I learned to improve my networking skills and met many CU friends and colleagues, especially from Canada. Since then, I have been actively participating in several CCA/CDF-funded projects of MOCCU & MCTIC as a consultant, trainer, gender expert and interpreter.


Learning and giving back to the community!

Dudh Kashi Gurung, Manager, Doodh Pokhari Saving and Credit Cooperative Ltd.

Year of Women Mentorship Program attended:  2018

Women Mentorship Program participants 2018

The Women’s Mentorship Program (WMP) is a unique professional development opportunity for women managers in most developing countries in the financial co-operatives sector. In the year 2018, 12 individuals from eight different countries participated. Together, we had an amazing opportunity to learn, develop and grow with mentorship and training from a number of business experts in Canada.

“I developed my leadership, communications, negotiation and networking skills. Using the techniques we learned from Women Mentorship Program, we reduced the delinquency in my co-operative from 25% to 8% in less than one year.” Since returning from the WMP, I have used my training and enhanced knowledge to take on a variety of new activities for my
professional and personal development.


WMP: I felt empowered and confident!

Gugu Vilakati, CEO, Lubane Credit Union  Eswatini  (Former SWAZILAND)

Year of Women Mentorship Program attended:    2013

WMP 2013

I was the CEO of a CU in Eswatini. I was shy and did not believe in myself. The kind of leader who would ask for guidance on everything. It was hard for me to let my voice be heard, as I was not confident when it came to decision-making.  After the Women’s Mentorship Program (WMP), I gained tremendous confidence. I developed my leadership and mentorship skills and was able to work without supervision. More than anything, I became very ambitious and wanted to try everything that would help to empower me. I also learned about the importance of financial empowerment and started working towards self-financial empowerment while attaining my Master’s degree.

Before I participated in the WMP there were no women at the board level in my Credit Union, which was normal. When I returned, I started lobbying for women in my CU stand for elections. I encouraged them to accept board nominations and not decline them, as women in my CU would have tended to do.

Though my CU is male-dominated (70: 30), due to the nature of the bond, 30% of the board are now women – which is progress. Furthermore, I gained so much confidence that I became a speaker, and am now sought after presenter at national, regional and local conferences. At ACOSCCA, I was elected as the vice chair for the Sister Society in the SADC region and was later elected to lead the Eswatini Sister Society – a position I currently hold.

WMP helped me to become a change agent in my Credit Union

Tungalag Nyamaa, Executive Director, NNTS Credit Union, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

Tungalag Nyamaa

Year of Women Mentorship Program attended:    2019

After the training, I felt that my leadership, communication, and networking skills improved. I have established good communication with the Canadian “Progressive” Credit Union. And now, I am still keeping good contact with CDF Canada staff, facilitators, all women managers, and participants of the WMP 2019.

Women Mentorship Program is a fantastic program that provides intensive classroom training organized by skilled WMP officers. During classroom training, we have had the opportunity to learn about real-time challenges and successes shared by many participants.

I worked on the challenges faced in our Credit Union and introduced my proposal plan during the management team meeting. Since 2019 we have been improving the membership policy, job description and profile, changing the loan procedure, and our Credit Union’s strategic plan.


WMP: A program for learning and growth

Precious Gilbert Akpan, CEO, PEJ investment Cooperative Union, a Financial Cooperative in Nigeria.

Year of Women Mentorship Program attended:    2019

Precious Gilbert- Akpan

Before my journey to Canada, we were offering services as a micro-financing firm, but after my return, a lot changed.  now, we have more cooperative products tailored toward membership growth.

Through the knowledge gained in CDF Canada, I was able to start a Mentorship group for women/youth in my country called (Women Change Agent) and for youth called (Youth Change Agent); on the 25th of August, 2019, we had our first meeting, and 118 women attended. During the Covid pandemic shutdown, I started an online training group for women/youth in Cooperatives. I trained them in corporate governance, sustainability plans, work-life balance, financial management, and experience sharing among women and youth. Since everything was on lockdown, this platform became an avenue to advertise and sell their goods and services. We have over 800 participants today and everyone is trying to connect and help each other. In 2020, I was called to run the Global Women’s Leadership Network ‘aka’ Sister Society Nigeria Chapter.

WMP: Inspiring and a great learning experience

Lillian D. Silubrico, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Holy Cross Savings and Credit Cooperative

Year of Women Mentorship Program attended: 2005 – as a participant and 2009 – as co-facilitator.

Lillian D. Silubrico

I participated in the training for the first time in 2005. The training opened new venues for learning, from understanding different cultures to learning English and most importantly, learning about the technology,  practices and values of Canadian cooperatives and of other countries through the classroom discussion with the other participants.

Before the training, I believed cooperatives in the Philippines were big and doing well, especially in the cooperative I manage as a CEO. But after the Women Mentorship Program, I realized that we are just a small dot compared to what Canadian Cooperatives are doing. And we are very far in terms of technology, system and processes.

The learning and exposure we had in Canada opened my mind that there are a lot of possibilities that we can do to improve our cooperatives in the Philippines. I dreamed that time would come we could be like cooperatives in Canada. What they are doing in Canada can happen in the Philippines in the future. I knew this was a big dream, a lot of hard work.  After 16 years, I am still working in my cooperative and active in the federations. This is to keep my dream a reality before my retirement.

WMP: A Eye-Opener

Sabina Basent, Nepal

Sabina Basnet, Nepal

Year of Women Mentorship Program attended: 2019

Women Mentorship Program was the first international training that I attended. It was an eye-opener for me to learn from the participants and coaches in the program. Upon returning back, I tried to implement my knowledge in my work and also helped other team members to cope with challenges. I would like to thank Lennie Hampton, Rapport Credit Union. It was a great learning experience, and I would cherish it.




WMP: Sharpened my skills, boosted my self-esteem, and started to believe in myself

Tapiwa Chima, Non-Civil Service Portfolio Manager, United Civil Servants SACCO

Year of Women Mentorship Program attended: 2013

Tapiwa Chima

Before starting the training as a branch manager, I struggled with delinquent loans. During the Women Mentorship program, I was attached to Sunrise Credit Union in Manitoba, and I spent much of my time with their loan officer, who took me through how to make some follow-ups on defaulted members. I gained the knowledge that I implemented the moment I was back – the knowledge that I gained during the training helped me to reduce my branch delinquency to 0.1% to the point that I was transferred from branch to head office to manage the credit department, meaning I have to work delinquency for the whole organization.

The programme sharpened my skills, boosted my self-esteem, and I started to believe in myself. My SACCO has grown to one of the biggest in Malawi.



Oyundalai Tumurbaatar, 2014

WMP: Great opportunity to learn and grow

Oyundalai Tumurbaatar, CEO, FINCOM CU

Year of Women Mentorship Program attended: 2014

I have worked at the Fincom CU since 2006, where I started as a loan officer and was later promoted to head of the accounting office and then was CEO from 2010 to 2019. When I returned from Canada, I was invited to be a member of the training and education of MOCCU. It was a great honour to be part of this team which we have travelled all around Mongolia and met up with many colleagues in the countryside. It was a great opportunity to learn about their problems and work together on solutions.

When I came back from Canada, I briefed the team about the training and what I learned and what was shared in workshops. I also shared my learnings in Ottawa and the Innovation Credit union in Pierceland in Saskatoon. The practical learning helped me to gain insights into the challenges that we face here in our credit unions.

Mizpah Aira Isaac-Taala

WMP: Inspiring Program
Mizpah Aira Isaac-Taala, CEO, Metro Ormoc Community Multi-Purpose Cooperative (OCCCI)

Year of Women Mentorship Program attended: 2012

Before the program, I was already thinking of resigning from the Coop. I felt so empty and drained. I felt that my energy was not enough to get the work done. I was losing my confidence, and worse, I was already compromising my time to be with my family. After the program and the re-organization, I felt so relieved. I felt like I regained the energy and the momentum. Now I have learned to be more objective and goal-oriented. More importantly, the Coop has bounced back after some challenges. It is indeed heartening that by patiently allowing every employee to unleash their optimal potential, we are able to build a much stronger Coop, ready again to face new challenges.

Mizpah Aira Isaac-Taala

After the Women Mentorship Program

  1. Balanced work and family time
  2. Revisiting our Strategic Plan and making some adjustments according to priorities.
  3. Re-organization and New Leadership – One of the changes made was the TROIKA Leadership, composed of the Chief Operations Officer, Chief Administrative Officer and the Chief Finance Officer working hand in hand with the Board of Directors overseeing the achievement of the vision.
  4. Lowering Interest Rates on Time Deposits and imposing standard and uniform rates for all members.
  5. Empowerment of managers, supervisors and staff. Giving them full responsibility for their actions, recommendations and decisions.
  6. New Technology: I was amazed at the technology of Canada putting everything online. We are almost done with our online programs and digital innovations, the same as I saw in Canada.

On behalf of the cooperative, the Board of Directors, the Staff and the members, I would like to thank the CCA/CDF for the opportunity to be part of the mentorship program.  It was an experience I will never forget for the rest of my life.  The learnings I brought with me after the training has contributed much to the triumph of OCCCI and to what I am now.

WMP: Enriched my management and technical skills

Khin Moh Moh, Managing Director, Theikdi Aung (CCS) Savings and Credit Society Ltd.

Year of Women Mentorship Program attended: 2013

Khin Moh Moh

Before the training, I was an Assistant General Manager at CCS and Board of Directors of CCS Savings and Credit Society Cooperative. At that time, I was working for the Budget and Account Section in CCS. I was responsible for accepting the membership and loan application forms, recording the profile of individual members, prepare the financial statements for the Savings and Credit Coop.

In 2013, there were 395 members in our SACCO, 7 Board of Directors and two member auditors. It is very simple. When I was learning about Credit Unions in Canada, I was surprised because Credit Unions here are like private banks and successful co-operatives. I visited Sunova Credit Union and Credit Union Central of Manitoba. I learned operations and marketing. After the training, I submitted a report to my Board of Directors and shared it with other Savings and Credit Cooperatives. The Board of Directors did introduce some changes, such as loan policy, product promotion, and risk management.

I highly appreciate CCA/CDF for giving me this great opportunity to participate in the Women Mentorship Program. The program has enriched my knowledge in management and technical skills. I am more confident and have improved my communication skill as well.

WMP: A great learning opportunity 

Madhu Rayamajhi, National Co-operative Bank Limited, Nepal

Year of Women Mentorship Program attended: 2016

WMP 2016

I am very grateful to CCA family for the opportunity to participate in the Women’s Mentorship Program 2016. The program was well diversified, the participants from different nations and diverse experiences. It was a great opportunity to be a part of that program. The program taught us about Canadian Cooperatives, their financial activities, an adaptation of technology, their strategies and work plans. I realized the gap and differences in the structural and managerial aspects of cooperative institutes in highly developed and least developed nations.

Moreover, placements helped us to observe and understand modern and contemporary practices. Also, interacting with managers from various countries helped me understand the prevailing issues in various communities and societies. I have been highly motivated by this program to sharpen my managerial skills.

In WMP, I learned many aspects of professional skills that led me to be a successful manager. I work as the head of the department of business promotion at the National Cooperative Bank, Nepal. Realizing the importance of training, we have started providing various training programs to staff to enhance their productivity and broaden their knowledge. I have also worked as a training facilitator on some occasions to share my experiences on WMP training. I have organized different formal and informal programs to give clear information to members about products and services. Through these programs, I have been sharing my knowledge and experience with members. Besides this, I have been conducting programs, physical and virtual, for women’s empowerment through a gender balance subcommittee to create a women-friendly workplace.

I would like to share my wonderful stay with my host Chris Swan during the placement. It was an important part of WMP. My placement was in Encompass Credit Union. I learned the best practices of Encompass credit union.

Congratulations and all the best for 75th anniversary.


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