Last month a delegation from the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) and the Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions (WFCU) joined more than 1,000 people attending Super Summit Sicredi, a conference for the women and youth who work for, or are members of Sicredi, World Council’s direct member credit union system in Brazil. Smaller credit union delegations from more than a dozen other countries also attended the two-day forum in Foz du Iguacu, Brazil.
WYCUP’s emerging leaders visited local Siciredi credit union offices for a deeper dive into their community engagement strategy, as well as Sicredi’s Youth Committee initiative. This initiative combines professional development, entrepreneurship, and community development to empower youth and encourage greater participation in cooperative governance. The WYCUP delegation visited a local dairy farm to learn how Sicredi supports small family farmers across the region, as well as a visit to a youth recreation and education program — an afterschool program that promotes sportsmanship through soccer as well as leadership and education. The WYCUP delegation was able to see the difference between the Sicredi model and our global credit union movement and they look forward to sharing this experience and finding opportunities to replicate Sicredi’s success.
Manfred Dasenbrock, a World Council board director and president of SICREDI Participações S.A. (SICREDI Holding), addressed the scholars during the super summit.
“We are so grateful to see this continued commitment from the World Council, a commitment to do more for the future of our cooperative movement. […]. Your efforts are proof that together, through cooperation, we are making a difference. Together, we are building better communities and a better world,” said Dasenbrock.
Super Summit Recap video: https://youtu.be/F3pizwGqq3Q
The WYCUP Scholarship program is open to nominees who are 40 years of age or younger, have made significant contributions to their credit union or financial cooperative system and have the potential to make a global credit union impact. The WYCUP program has awarded more than 100 scholarships since 2001.
You can watch a short video featuring all eight recipients from 2023 on the World Council YouTube Channel.
In the days leading up to the Summit, we began a learning journey with our colleagues from Sicredi and Sicredi Pioneira showing us the first cooperative in Latin America, the work being done through their women’s committees (GWLN Sister Societies) and youth committees for the emerging leaders and the actionable steps taken to address inclusion, diversity and equity in their cooperative system.
We heard their GWLN Sister Society/Women’s Committee leaders share experiences and expertise during breakout sessions and panel discussions. We heard women who work at Sicredi credit unions across Brazil talk about their career journeys and overcoming adversity to achieve their goals. We visited a female entrepreneur that grows organic products and sells them to the local communities in Nova Petropolis.
We visited a Sicredi branch on the university campus in Sao Leopoldo where we were introduced to Cooperativa Atitude Feminina, a group of women entrepreneurs who started a cooperative in which a small group of women collect recyclable items (glass, metal, plastic), sort them by hand and sell them to larger companies. From “trash to luxury” is how the women described the run down piece of land they turned into a beautiful working facility.
The days were filled with learning, sharing, self reflection, inspiration, motivation, and in some cases, tears.
But, the overarching common denominator for all was cooperativism – driving financial inclusion with a strong social commitment that is ultimately what makes credit unions and financial cooperatives unique as a business model.
WYCUP is empowering emerging leaders with global perspective to be part of the solution. Join us and enrich professional journeys through financial cooperatives everywhere. www.wycup.org.
GWLN – To learn more about how to get engaged, apply for a scholarship, join as a member, or start a Sister Society, visit the page here. To join the effort to Bridge the Gender Gap, you can donate here.
The Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions works to bridge credit union gaps worldwide. Join us and visit www.doglobalgood.org to start your journey today.
Co-author: Ari Farrell, WYCUP Manager