Helina Oforiwaa Quaque from Ghana will be in the area and spending time in Fort St. James for the next couple of weeks as part of a credit union mentorship program.

Integris welcomes woman from Ghana

Helina Oforiwaa Quaque is one of 11 female credit union managers arriving in Canada on May 21 for a mentorship program.

Helina Oforiwaa Quaque is one of 11 female credit union managers arriving in Canada on May 21 to begin her training in subjects such as loan applications, loan delinquency, savings mobilization, marketing and financial reporting.  It is a month of mentoring and bonding with credit union managers and staff here in Canada while being a participant in the Canadian Co-operative Association’s Women Mentoring Program.

Quaque, who is from Ghana and an employee at Berekum Area Teachers’ Co-operative Credit Union since 2011, will be mentored by staff at Integris Credit Union with branches and services in Prince George, Fort St. James, Vanderhoof, Quesnel and Clinton.

Quaque supervises six people in her current role as deputy manager. Her credit union has 12,850 members (43 per cent are women).

The credit union is computerized and its products and services include savings accounts, fixed deposit accounts, youth savings accounts, shares accounts, salary payment accounts, loans, mobile banking, and money transfers.

While taking part in the Canadian Co-operative Association’s (CCA) Women Mentoring Program, Quaque will enhance her understanding of member service skills, savings mobilization, loan delinquency reduction and how to interpret credit union policies to members so they understand how credit unions differ from banking institutions.

Berekum Area Teachers’ Co-operative Credit Union has struggled because of mismanagement but recently has been on sound footing and attracting new members and new savings. In June, 2012, it was operating with a surplus.

The Women’s Mentoring Program began in 2002. In 2001, the CCA Africa Region director noted there was a lack of professional development for women in Africa and Asia.

A plan was made to connect credit union women leaders in developing countries with Canadian Credit Union knowledge and expertise.  The program was born and is now in its 11th year.

Funding from the program is provided by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).

That first year, 16 women from eight countries attended the month-long training.

At the completion of this year’s program, 176 women from 18 countries will have participated.

The program is continually adapted to the learning needs voiced by participants.

This year, participants are from six countries with two new countries being represented, Swaziland and Myanmar.

As well as spending time with their host credit union, participants gather in Ottawa with staff from the CCA, before and after placement, to learn more about their particular learning needs and to develop the plan to implement lessons learned upon returning to their home credit union.

To learn more about Quaque’s visit to Integris Credit Union, please contact:  Kim Matthews, kmatthews@integriscu.ca or Joan Burdeniuk, jburdeniuk@integriscu.ca

For more information on this program visit www.coopscanada.coop or contact Laurie Tennian, laurie.tennian@coopscanada.coop 613 238 6711 ext 209