DoingMyPart.Coop Contest - Get Going and Connect with Mexico

    An invitation from Développement international Desjardins to
    young Canadians aged 18 to 30

    LEVIS, QC, Aug. 13 /CNW Telbec/ - From August 13 to November 7, 2008,
young people between the ages of 18 and 30 from across Canada are invited to
enter the third annual Développement international Desjardins (DID)
DoingingMyPart contest. This year the theme is Get Going and Connect with
    Mexico will be the destination for an international development awareness
tour by the two contest grand prize winners in May 2009. They will be greeted
in Mexico by DID experts living and working in partnership with leaders in
that country's community finance (microfinance) sector to offer access to
basic financial services adapted to the needs of marginalized communities
mainly in rural areas. The prize has a total value of $15,000.
    The contest partners are the Canadian International Development Agency
(CIDA), the Fédération des coopératives québécoises en milieu scolaire, under
the COOPSCO banner and Jobboom.
    The two grand prize winners will be chosen from among the 20 contest
finalists. Each finalist will receive a gift package valued at $160 offered by
the contest partners.

    How to enter

    To enter the contest, take part in a virtual rally on the
www.DoingMyPart.Coop microsite. First answer the ten multiple-choice questions
dealing with international development, cooperation and microfinance. Then
answer the additional essay question in 150 words or less to qualify for the
grand prize awareness tour to Mexico.
    To be eligible for the contest, you must be a Canadian citizen between
the ages of 18 and 30 and a member of a cooperative. Complete contest rules
are posted on the contest microsite (www.DoingMyPart.Coop/Rules).
    The DoingMyPart.Coop contest is a way for DID to contribute to raising
awareness about international development among Canadians, in particular
concerning the challenges in providing the disadvantaged with access to
financial services.

    Mexico: financial services now accessible and secure

    In Mexico, the community finance sector, or Banca Social, has undertaken
major reforms in recent years in order to provide the entire country with
reliable and secure financial services. The reform also led to the adoption of
legislation governing popular savings and credit institutions, with which
community finance cooperatives must comply.

    Desjardins played a major role in the reform.

    - DID experts took part in setting up a dozen supervision committees
      charged with overseeing the activities of the country's financial
      cooperatives to ensure that they comply with the new legislation.

    - DID has been providing assistance for nearly four years to six of the
      twelve federations of financial cooperatives in Mexico in their efforts
      to provide support for their affiliated cooperatives by improving
      management and enabling them to meet the requirements of the new

    - In the poor and marginalized regions of Chiapas, Tabasco, Huasteca and
      Puebla, where access to financial services was previously very
      difficult, DID set up financial cooperatives to provide the mainly
      indigenous population with access to financial services that meet their
      needs. Over 53,500 Mexicans are members, 71% live in rural areas and
      56% are women.

    Today, due to these efforts, Mexico is a source of inspiration for other
governments seeking to improve community finance management in their

    About DID

    Développement international Desjardins (DID) is a component of the
Desjardins Group and has been providing support for the creation, development
and strengthening of financial institutions for over 37 years. DID is
currently active in twenty countries in Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean
and Europe. DID, which specializes in providing technical support and
investment for community finance, draws on the rich and diverse experience
acquired through collaboration with numerous partners, and on the over
100 years of experience of the Desjardins Group, the largest cooperative
financial group in Canada. DID works in partnership with the Canadian
International Development Agency, the Inter-American Development Bank, the
World Bank and many other multilateral organizations.

    /NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: A photo accompanying this release is available on
    the CNW Photo Network and archived at
    Additional archived images are also available on the CNW Photo Archive
    website at Images are free to accredited
    members of the media/

For further information:

For further information: Karina Lehoux, Communication Advisor,
Développement international Desjardins, (418) 835-2401, extension 5796,

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