New Year’s Message: Looking back and moving forward
Oikocredit’s new Managing Director, Mirjam ‘t Lam, reflects on her first year at Oikocredit and shares about what we can look forward to in 2022 and beyond.
During my time at Oikocredit, I have been impressed and inspired by the unity and purpose that our cooperative and our partners have shown in the face of the challenges we have encountered in 2020 and 2021. With the support of our members and investors we continued to invest responsibly and created, together with our partners, opportunities for people who need our support the most.
Despite the many changes and uncertainties, 2021 has been a successful year for the Oikocredit community, making me proud and grateful to lead Oikocredit as Managing Director.
The past year (2021) was an eventful year for us. Oikocredit has successfully navigated through the ongoing pandemic and experienced remarkable resiliency, thanks to our global community of partners and investors. We continued to support our partner organisations, invested in new partners and teamed up with like-minded organisations to create opportunities for the low-income people in our 33 focus countries. We saw most of our partners successfully coming out of payment holidays and we were able to build back our development financing portfolio. We continued offering capacity building support on site, when possible, and otherwise online. We also published our Impact Report in September, which highlights the social impact of our investments and shares about our ‘client self-perception survey pilot’.
And on 2 December we held our first ever Extraordinary General Meeting, where our members demonstrated the true spirit of being a cooperative. Members showed solidarity and willingness to collaborate and they listened to each other’s views regarding the fundaments of our cooperative. This resulted in an endorsement by the members for the Managing Board to continue to collectively design and implement a new capital-raising model.
Oikocredit has always pioneered and acted as a catalyst in impact investing. With our community-focused strategy, which we will finalise in the first half of 2022, we aim to stay at the forefront of innovation in development financing and respond with agility to new opportunities and challenges that arise in our focus countries. We will also strive to build a greater sense of community among our members and investors, strengthening Oikocredit as a movement. We will further work on future-proofing the organisation by improving our digital offerings to our partners, investors and members; designing a new capital-raising model and corresponding strategy; and welcoming new members to the Managing and Supervisory Board.
The coming year (2022) will be a year of transition for Oikocredit, which I look forward to with confidence because of the work we did in 2021. I am keen to work with Oikocredit’s network on finalising and implementing our new community-focused strategy and capital-raising model. As this will enable us to achieve greater impact for the people and communities we serve.
Personally I look forward when the opportunity arises to meet more people face to face in our inflow and outflow networks (such as partners, members, investors and others) but also my colleagues in the different offices around the globe.
I wish you all the best for 2022.