Two Kenyan Sacco women awarded scholarships by GWLN

By David Kipkorir

Muki Sacco CEO Violet Ndungu and her Unisa Sacco Society Ltd counterpart Polly Gathoni Waweru are among four women across the world who were awarded the 2022 Global Women’s Leadership Network (GWLN) scholarship.

The other two 2022 GWLN Scholarship recipients are Dorothy Mambulasa from Malawi Union of Savings and Credit Co-operatives Ltd. (Malawi) and Enkhchimeg Nergui from Mongolian National Confederation of Credit Unions (Mongolia).

The scholarships made them members of the Network and provides them with opportunities for professional expertise, networking and skill diversification.

The women also have an opportunity to take part in the 2022 World Credit Union Conference (WCUC) in Glasgow, Scotland from July 17-20, 2022 (including travel, hotel accommodation and a stipend).

They will also have an opportunity to present project proposals and win an Empowerment Grant.

The Director for the GWLN Lena Giakoumopoulos said that through support from corporate sponsorships and individual GWLN memberships, they expanded the annual scholarship program and re-introduced the empowerment grant.

“It was exciting to see several unique proposals from women applying for the first time from credit union systems around the globe,” said Giakoumopoulos.

Giakoumopoulos added: “Some project proposals focused on specific issues impacting the local communities, while others presented solutions to improve businesses targeting specific populations in their respective regions. The common denominator is empowered women from diverse financial and socioeconomic backgrounds leading, facilitating and implementing projects with the support of GWLN.”

In 2022, GWLN will be offering scholars the opportunity to receive an Empowerment Grant to implement a new or continuing, home-based project focused on empowering women, their credit union members and/or their local communities.

The GWLN scholars will be required to attend all GWLN-specific events during the 2022 World Credit Union Conference, including the GWLN reception and the GWLN Forum—where they will each make a presentation on the Empowerment Grant project proposal submitted as part of the scholarship application process.

Attendees of the GWLN Forum will cast votes to select two winners, who will be announced following WCUC. Each Empowerment Grant winner will receive $10,000 to implement their proposal over the course of the next twelve months.

All scholarship recipients will also be required to attend 2022 Scholars’ meetings, showcasing the progress and growth in their credit union/communities, along with the GWLN Sister Society virtual strategy session later this year.

Since 2009, GWLN has awarded 90 scholarships to women from 30 countries.

Scholarships and empowerment grants are made possible through funding from annual memberships and corporate donations from Co-op Solutions, CUNA Mutual Group, PSCU and the Susan Adams Scholarship Fund supported by One AZ Credit Union.

“The scholarships and empowerment grants provide opportunities for growth, learning and connection,” said Giakoumopoulos. “But, more importantly, they offer hope for the future.”

Last year, GWLN awarded eight scholarships to industry women, allowing them to join the Network and gain opportunities for professional development, networking and skill diversification.

The 2021 scholarship winners include: Jane Ndambiri, a Junior Clerk at Taifa Sacco Society Ltd, Kenya, Gertrude Wambuga, Board Director at Kenya Union of Savings and Credit Co-Operative Ltd (KUSCCO) and Charo Jawadu, Business Development Manager, Mudi Sacco, Malawi.

Others were Patience Duduzile Sembereka from United Civil Servants Sacco in Malawi, Mary Rose Gob, a Certified Cooperative Manager at National Confederation of Cooperatives, The Philippines, Elizabeth Kanyane Khumalo from People Empowerment Co-operative Financial Institution in South Africa, Rachel Chojnacki from Calcite Credit Union in USA and Dawn Lepore from Vantage West Credit Union in USA.

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