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 (pls. see www.cuwomen.org) as the Nigerian Country Chairperson.

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.

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