SKOPJE, North Macedonia–The head of World Council’s Global Women’s Leadership Network (GWLN) has been visiting this country to discuss the importance of women’s empowerment, their opportunities to advance professionally and personally—and providing for financial inclusion through credit unions.
GWLN Program Director Lena Giakoumopoulos is also meeting with North Macedonian dignitaries and participating in a weeklong 20th anniversary celebration of FULM Savings House, the country’s first and only credit union, established in 1999 through a USAID/World Council of Credit Unions’ (WOCCU) project, the World Council reported.
According to WOCCU, Giakoumopoulos began her week by presenting a World Council Ambassador Medallion to Anita Angelovska Bezhoska, governor of the National Bank of the Republic of North Macedonia. She also visited the country’s Ministry of Finance, and the Commission on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men—presenting pink GWLN to officials from both agencies.
At right, GWLN Program Director Lena Giakoumopoulos presents a WOCCU Ambassador Medallion to the Governor of the National Bank of the Republic of North Macedonia.
At right, Lena Giakoumopoulos presents pink GWLN pashminas to an official from North Macedonia's Ministry of Finance.
“Women are an influential force in the global economy, with significant untapped business potential,” said Giakoumopoulos. “In line with the mission of World Council to improve lives through credit unions and other financial cooperatives, we harness this power each day and make the case for greater economic empowerment of women, credit unions and financial cooperatives around the world achieving success. It’s smart for our countries, our companies and our credit unions when we invest in women!”
Launched in 2016, the GWLN Sister Society in North Macedonia was the first chapter established in Europe.
20 Year Anniversary
Meanwhile, WOCCU Board Chair Steve Stapp presented a gift to FULM Savings House CEO Eleonora Zgonjanin at a formal 20th anniversary celebration this week.
“It is exciting to see the success of FULM Savings House in North Macedonia and the thousands of members they have served in the past 20 years,” said Stapp, who is CEO of Unitus Community Credit Union. “Their determination and model are an inspiration to all systems around the world.”
FULM Savings House now has eight locations located across North Macedonia that serve more than 10,000 members.
Also participating in the week-long trip are representatives of SchoolsFirst Credit Union, Poland’s National Association of Cooperative Savings and Credit Unions, the Michigan League, and Romania’s Federatia CAR din Romania.
Below, WOCCU Board Chair Steve Stapp presents a 20th anniversary gift to FULM Savings House CEO Eleonora Zgonjanin.