By Eva Hoglund, CFO at EFL (Poland)
Launched by the Grameen Crédit Agricole Foundation and Crédit Agricole SA in June 2018, Solidarity Bankers is a skills volunteering programme aimed at all Crédit Agricole group employees for the benefit of microfinance institutions or impact businesses supported by the Grameen Crédit Agricole Foundation. Read the interview with Eva Höglund, Crédit Agricole’s Solidarity banker, who left for Kenya in 2019 to support Musoni, a microfinance institution funded by the Foundation.
Beginning of the adventure
When I discovered the Solidarity bankers mission in favour of Musoni, a microfinance institution in Kenya, it was immediately obvious to me: it was made for me. The objective of the mission was to accompany Musoni in the implementation of a strategic planning and monitoring system. Not only it was a beautiful solidarity and sharing mission, in a country that I did not know, but I also had the impression that the qualities and experience requested were a description of my own professional career. I immediately gathered as much information as possible about Musoni and the Grameen Crédit Agricole Foundation.
Soon after I applied, I was informed that my application had been accepted and I immediately started preparing my mission. The Grameen Crédit Agricole Foundation team was very supportive during this first phase: together we established the mission’s objectives and agenda. This was followed by reading sessions of Musoni’s presentation documents and strategic plan.
During the summer preceding the mission, I also had numerous exchanges and conference calls with Musoni to ensure that we shared the objectives and had a common vision of the working method to be followed. From my point of view, good preparation is essential and this phase was the key to the success of my mission.
Heading to Kenya
On 26 October 2019, departure for Kenya for a 15-day field mission. I was leaving for a mission in line with my skills and knowledge of the microfinance sector, but in a structure and cultural context different from my daily life. It was therefore not without a little apprehension that I landed in Nairobi. The welcome I received from David Camara, Investment Advisor at the Foundation, who I had previously met in Montrouge, was reassuring.
On Monday morning, we started with the meeting to launch the field mission with all Musoni’s employees who were going to contribute to establishing the strategic planning and monitoring mechanism. The presence of Stanley Munyao, CEO of Musoni, and David, representing the Foundation, was important to underline the importance of the project. Musoni gave itself all the means to succeed by sending Amina Jaberney, a consultant who was going to accompany me during my field mission in order to ensure afterwards the operational implementation once my mission was over.
During the first week, Amina and I conducted interviews with Musoni’s management, as well as agencies’ employees. We compiled the key points to remember and translated them into vectors consistent with Musoni’s mission and vision. The second week consisted of validating and ensuring the adherence of Musoni’s teams to the proposed strategic management system. In order to ensure that the mission was going according to expectations, we held Steering Committees with the CEO every 2 days. On my last day in the field, we were able to present a complete set of the system validated by Musoni’s management.
Back to Paris
Once my mission was over, Amina took over with Judy Ndungu, Musoni’s Human Resources Director. The final implementation meeting, gathering all the employees, was held on 13 July 2020. The performance evaluation of the first half of the year will be carried out based on our work. What a satisfaction!
I am very pleased to have taken this opportunity offered by Crédit Agricole and the Grameen Crédit Agricole Foundation. This assignment will remain an unforgettable experience. It allowed me to experience from the inside how a microfinance institution operates in a fast-changing market. I met some very nice people and I am proud of the result we were able to achieve, together, in such a short period.