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Volunteer Spotlight - Betty Bauhuis

Promoting leadership in Africa: ACCOSCA & Women'a Mentorship Program

In October, Betty Bauhuis from Tisdale Saskatchewan, travelled to Rwanda for the African Confederation of Savings and Credit Co-operatives (ACOSCCA) annual Savings and Credit Co-operative Congress. Both she and Ian McArthur, Chief People Officer from Innovation Credit Union, were speakers at the conference in Kigali, as well as workshop facilitators. The theme of the conference was "Promoting Africa's Development Agenda through Financial Co-operative Integrated Systems".  Both Ian and Betty spoke about board governance and leadership development.


Betty Bauhuis in Malawi

Volunteer Betty Bauhuis facilitates a discussion with Malawi WMP alumnae.


In November, Betty continued her journey to Malawi to conduct a monitoring mission with the Women’s Mentorship Program (WMP) Malawi participants to see how their change management plans, which they developed during the program in May/June (where Betty was the classroom facilitator), had been implemented since their Canadian placement, as well as assessing the impact the Women’s Mentorship Program has had on Malawi alumnae. Betty hosted a reunion and focus group workshop in Lilongwe with Malawi WMP participants.  Betty recently shared her volunteering experience.

Why were you interested in a volunteer assignment with CCA?

My entire career has been focused on working for financial co-operatives and initially my interest in volunteering was to give back in some way. The volunteer experience turned out to be enriching on a personal and professional level.  I learned so much from people who are inspiring with their warmth for others and passion for the co-operative movement. My recent activities with the Women Mentorship Program is especially rewarding.  I hope I impart some knowledge, but what I receive in human kindness and caring is so much greater than what I give.  

What is innovative (new or different) about the outcomes being achieved in the project?

The most rewarding outcome is to see how the women leaders apply the learnings to maximum advantage.  There are innovations in marketing, product development and community outreach that have been adapted from what they learned from the Canadian credit union system.  There are so many best practices that have been implemented in new procedures, governance and human resource management.  The greatest change I see is in personal growth of the participants and new approach they use overcome barriers and pursue opportunities.          

What have you learned?

I learned of the flexibility and resilience of the co-operative movement. The credit union system is different in each country, yet the common principles and values hold us together as a system.  The credit union system is helping so many people and communities every day. I learned that credit union people all over the globe are passionate for helping people.  It is this bond we share that makes us feel like family even though we have just met.  On a person level, I am inspired to be more thankful for the abundance we have in Canada and we should not take anything for granted.