Members of the World Council Young Credit Union Professionals (WYCUP) program are in the middle of a week-long immersion trip designed to foster the creation of a toolkit that can be used to replicate the Sicredi Youth Committee model at credit unions across the globe.
Sicredi, Brazil’s largest credit union system, establishes Youth Committees at the individual credit union level. The committees consist primarily of members, with a few employees present to connect activities with the strategic goals of their credit union. The initiative builds awareness of financial cooperatives among this important demographic to ensure the future viability of the organization, but also strengthens the relationship with young members by:
The WYCUP delegation began its deep-dive into the purpose of the Youth Committees on Tuesday, January 28, learning more about their organizational process, structure, responsibilities and community activities. Two members of the Sicred Nossa Terra Youth Committee in rural Cafelandia also shared presentations on how the committee has impacted them personally and professionally.
Amanda Juliao recently completed university studies in law. She credited Sicredi for offering comprehensive training on the cooperative model. She quickly became an advocate for the cooperative philosophy and has worked to promote financial education among children in the community. Juliao said the experience also gave her the confidence to thrive in her first job as a lawyer—a field traditionally dominated by men.
Pedro Dantas, a university graduate in electrical engineering, said the Youth Committee helped him reorganize his business and move it in a more positive direction. A few years after establishing Green Power, which promotes and installs solar energy projects, the Youth Committee led Dantas to become inspired by the power of the cooperative philosophy.
He changed his business to reflect a model of conscientious capitalism and cooperative principles, with a focus on social enterprise. Since then, his business has grown significantly. From three projects in the first year of business to 14 in the second, Dantas implemented 54 solar projects in year three—crediting that growth to the cooperative spirit he injected into his business model.
“It is truly inspirational to hear messages about the good these young professionals are doing in their committees and the commitment that Sicredi has in developing these young leaders," said World Council Executive Vice-President Paul Treinen, who is participating in the immersion trip.
Youth Committee development project stirs inspiration
On Wednesday, the international delegation visited the dairy farm of WYCUP participant and Sicredi Youth Comittee member Marcos Paulino.
In recent years, Paulino has received several awards for the quality of milk and sustainable management practices on his farm. As a member of Sicredi Vale do Piquiri's Youth Committee, he created a community development project that provides technical assistance to farmers in the region.
As a direct result of his efforts, the region is now recognized for producing the highest quality milk in the country and has led to new government standards based upon his techniques. Thanks to his efforts, small farmers have increased productivity and improved the sustainability of their operations.
Next steps: creating a toolkit
The team of WYCUP advocates will lean on the information and experiences from this week during a Friday ideation session on how to create a toolkit to help credit union systems around the world replicate the Sicredi Youth Committee model.
The toolkit will be further refined in March during the Global Youth Summit 2020 in the United Kingdom (London and Manchester). Young credit union professionals gathered from around the world will then utilize the completed toolkit to replicate youth committees at their own credit unions.
“Sicredi’s Youth Committee initiative is empowering young people in communities throughout Brazil and redefining their relationship with the credit union. This entirely new professional development resource has the potential to redefine the relationship between young people and their credit union. It is already happening in Brazil. It could be soon at your credit union too," said Thom Belekevich, World Council Program Manager for Member Services, who organized and is participating in the immersion trip.