CEO FORUM FOR OIKOCREDIT PARTNERS IN AFRICA
CEOs with a dedication to continuous improvement, a passion for people and an appreciation of the extraordinary challenges presented by our times today came together on line last week to launch Oikocredit’s forum for CEOs in Africa. The launch of this program comes at a time when it is becoming evident that the situation brought on by Covid 19 is not something that will be resolved in a matter of a few months. In the words of one participant – ‘this is not a short dash or a sprint that many of us hoped it would be but is most likely going to be a marathon. ’
Ging Ledesma, director of Social Performance Innovation shares the rationale for this initiative which has been spearheaded by Oikocredit’s team in Africa led by Hans Perk and Caroline Mulwa. “From the early days of this Covid crisis, Oikocredit has acted to support its project partners. This initiative is in line with that intention. All of us are doing our best to deal with the pandemic and its impact on our operations. The restrictions that we are facing can easily make us feel isolated and alone. For many CEOs these days, it is particularly ‘lonely at the top’ and by bringing the CEOs of our partners together, we hope that they will at least know that they are not alone and they have the possibility to reach out to a group of their peers for solidarity, support and share experiences helpful in their individual journeys.’
The feedback from participants to the first session has been positive. “I am thankful for this opportunity which can help us grow in our leadership journey during these exceptional times,” shares one participant. “As leaders, we need to motivate and keep our people hopeful, we need to be visible, keep them engaged and fully informed,” shares another participant. Such a challenge can be draining on a personal level as one struggles to deal with the shock, the fear and the uncertainty brought about by the pandemic. According to another participant, the forum provides an opportunity ‘to show vulnerability, learn and get support from others who find themselves facing this challenge of leadership at this time”.
Beyond the personal support that the Forum could provide, participants also saw the potential that “through the Forum, we have a stronger voice, can influence policy and push for industry-led solutions. We need to be inclusive to be able to win as a team harness our voices as a sector rather than as individual institutions”. The Forum is a step towards building this vision of solidarity.