AMERSFOORT, Netherlands, June 30, 2011 /CNW/ - Rosalind Copisarow is taking the reins as Oikocredit's new managing director, officially assuming
responsibilities from Tor G. Gull tomorrow.
(Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20110630/465200 )
Ms Copisarow brings a unique mix of experience to Oikocredit; 15 years
as a blue chip investment banker, followed by 13 years of building up
new microfinance institutions and a further three years heading social
Ms Copisarow founded Fundusz Mikro, the first microfinance institution
in Poland in 1994. The organization went on to serve more than 35,000
clients, was valued at € 35 million and became financially sustainable
in 1999. She left to embrace a new challenge the following year with
Street UK - a UK-based microloan programme, now national and
Later, Ms Copisarow held positions as senior vice president of
international microfinance organization ACCION, and then as chief
executive of International Development Enterprises UK (IDE), a
development organization that works to empower subsistence farmers.
A UK national, Ms Copisarow is a social entrepreneur whose most recent
venture, Constellation Communities, aims to enable slum residents to
acquire their own home through a package of housing products and
support services that include microfinance.
"Successful social development lies with multiple approaches," says Ms
Copisarow. "A combination of support for microfinance, cooperatives and
small and medium enterprises will drive a healthy sustainable
"I think the expectations of microfinance were too high. It isn't a
panacea to poverty alleviation but it is a very important, effective
tool to help people out of poverty. We need to understand what it can
and cannot do, so we can fill the gaps," she said. "One big agenda item
is the lack of access to markets. Customers who borrow money to make
more baskets are not going to be helped if there's no one to buy the
extra baskets. Support for a diversity of sectors is essential."
Presently, Oikocredit's portfolio is split between microfinance
institutions, cooperatives and small to medium enterprises. "I don't
think I've ever seen an organization with such a depth of commitment to
its mission as Oikocredit," she said. "It's about knowing what we're
trying to achieve and pursuing our ultimate goal with our whole heart.
And that goal is to create a just world of equal opportunity and human
dignity for all."
Ms Copisarow's capabilities and commitment will ensure the continuity of
Oikocredit's social mission and unique approach to investing in people.
Oikocredit is a social investor and worldwide cooperative that promotes
global justice by empowering disadvantaged people with credit. Since
1975, Oikocredit has offered loans and investment capital to
microfinance institutions, cooperatives, fair trade and other
businesses. Today, Oikocredit has 863 project partners in more than 70
For further information:
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