MADISON, Wis. (8/7/15)--Three women from Thailand, Macedonia and the Philippines are the recipients of Empowerment Grants from the World Council of Credit Unions’ Global Women’s Leadership Network.
The winners are Kruewan Chonalanai, executive director of the Credit Union Development Institute, Credit Union League of Thailand; Eleonora Zgonjanin Petrovic, CEO of FULM Saving House, Macedonia; and Juliet C. Rawlinson, microfinance manager at Paglaum Multi-Purpose Cooperative, Philippines. The network grants will support their global financial literacy efforts.
"The Global Women's Leadership Network is about helping women make a difference in the lives of each other, their members and their communities," said Brian Branch, World Council president/CEO. "The Empowerment Grants allow members of the network to do so by volunteering in the field to help these women make that difference."
This year's applicants were required to include project proposals to improve access to credit, loans, savings and leadership opportunities for women in their communities.
They presented their proposals during the leadership forum held in conjunction with the World Credit Union Conference in Denver in July. Network members were able to ask questions, volunteer their expertise and suggest improvements before voting on the project of their choice.
Chonalanai plans to expand the network beyond the Sister Society she helped launch in April by setting up a social media platform and translation service. "It will be a collaborative method which draws on the expertise of network members worldwide, the support of our local Sister Societies in Thailand, the Philippines and Nepal, and the help of the team at the Credit Union Development Institute and the Thai League's Women's Chapter Committee," Chonalanai said.
Juliet C. Rawlinson
Rawlinson intends to inspire female entrepreneurialism through more Business Development Center and Services (BDS) activities for rural Filipino women, including specified training for women and increasing the sustainability of the BDS.
“Through (the empowerment grant) we can better help the community and enhance services to the less fortunate,” Rawlinson said. “With the support of the network, we will break down barriers for rural women, ignite their entrepreneurial spirit, and show there is hope for changing lives from the bottom up."
Eleonora Zgonjanin Petrovic
Zgonjanin Petrovic plans to initiate a corporate exchange program through her credit union that will draw on network support and expertise to develop a communication strategy for financially excluded women and youth in Macedonia.
"Attending the World Credit Union Conference was a wonderful learning experience and a long term investment for FULM," said Zgonjanin Petrovic, who said she is eager to implement network members' suggestions for growth strategies and the latest information technology.
Empowerment Grant funding is made possible through support from CUNA Mutual Group; The Members Group; Burns-Fazzi, Brock & Associates; Aurora (Colo.) Credit Union Alliance; and the Susan Adams Scholarship Fund supported by Arizona State CU, Phoenix, and PSCU.