Being mindful about adding value and realising impact is essential for Oikocredit’s success
Mirjam 't Lam, Oikocredit's Managing Director
Oikocredit’s Managing Director, Mirjam ‘t Lam, shares her thoughts as the New Year begins.
At the start of 2022, with the Covid-19 pandemic receding, one of my keenest wishes was to meet more people involved in our cooperative’s work face to face: partners, members, investors and colleagues in the different Oikocredit offices around the world. Equally, I wanted others to be able to connect and engage in person, after many months of lockdown. I’m pleased my hopes for us all to meet and work together more in face-to-face settings were fulfilled.
I had welcome opportunities to meet Oikocredit members, support association staff, Members’ Council members, Supervisory Board members and many colleagues from the different countries in which we operate. Most importantly I met investors, partners and end-beneficiaries during my visits to parts of our inflow and outflow networks.
All these interactions gave me greater insight into the work we do and what is expected from Oikocredit. It also showed that our work is relevant and much needed, especially with so many uncertainties emanating from wars, climate change, high inflation, rising interest rates, and other global and local challenges.
Oikocredit sets an example by showing what responsible investing means and by helping people and communities in developing countries build resilience. We need to continue working for a more just society as the world faces increasing inequalities.
In 2022 we successfully progressed important change initiatives for our organisation by bringing to fruition our new capital-raising model and 2022-2026 strategy. In 2023 the roll-out of our new capital-raising model will be followed by a new inflow strategy targeting investors to join us in investing responsibly and becoming part of our investor movement.
We must also translate our community-focused approach into actionable plans, innovations and impact targets for each outflow country and product line. This is essential to provide ourselves with a compass to help low-income people to improve their lives in a sustainable manner – and to deliver to our investors insights on the impact we make and the innovations we stimulate with the capital they entrust to us.
Another key task is to make our core business efficient and effective through the use of technology and data-driven decision-making and by optimising our processes. This way we can free up and dedicate time to acquiring new investors and partners, driving organisational change and initiating new community-focused projects, while respecting good business conduct in terms of risk, liquidity and capital management.
Moving from design to implementation of the new capital-raising model and the strategy, we are moving from thinking to action. In taking action we should continuously check with our colleagues, partners, members and investors if what we do works and adds value, and not be afraid to adjust based on their feedback. It is crucial in a year of action to regularly walk the plan-do-check-act cycle together.
I will strive to do this personally in 2023 by practising the cycle and paying particular attention to checking with stakeholders to be sure that our actions enable responsible investing and contribute to the resilience of low-income people and their communities.
I wish you all an active and insightful 2023.
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