“In 2006 I completed a six-month professional internship in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, with the Dunduliza network of financial cooperatives, a DID partner. My job was to assist in the operations of the WAT SACCO, which had just switched to a computer-based system, and help reshape the way it worked. It was a very educational experience, both professionally and personally. And it also launched my career with DID! I was also able to steep myself in Tanzania’s warm, friendly culture and learn a new language—Swahili.”
For this young woman who speaks four languages (French, English, Spanish and Swahili), this new experience opened the door for her with the DID team in Lévis in the winter of 2008. Since then, her main task has been to provide support to DID partners for the introduction of systems for banking transactions, information management and surveillance.
“Since September 2010, I have been back in Tanzania with my partner Sébastien. My mandate is to work on the start up of an Entrepreneurs Financial Centre (EFC), a project in which DID is involved as an investor and operator.
The purpose of this financial institution is to help reduce poverty, foster the emergence of a private sector and improve Tanzanians’ quality of life.
It’s a tall order! For my manager and myself, the greatest challenge is building a team able to manage things on its own come September. So far we’ve hired 27 employees, all Tanzanians.
Since opening in July 2011, the DID EFC in Tanzania has attracted 708 clients (49% of whom are women) and amassed a loan portfolio worth $862,000. The average loan amount is $5,787. Over the next five years, we plan to develop and launch a network of branches and service outlets.
This time, I came to Tanzania with my partner, Sébastien. He too has embarked on the adventure of coming to live in Africa for two years. When we arrived, he signed up for a five-week intensive course to learn Swahili and now has a good command of the language. He has adapted very well to life in Tanzania!”
© Développement international Desjardins – June 2012
Marie-Claire Duguay completed her mandate in Tanzania with DID in September 2012 and returned to the head office where she is advisor for EFC operations with the Investments and Management Contracts division of DID.