The Annual General Meeting (AGM) is a once a year event organized by the Oikocredit International cooperative. The AGM provides an opportunity for members of the worldwide cooperative to be in one place and discuss internal structures, strategies, focus, and committee/board appointments. This year was the cooperative’s 43rd AGM and took place in Hoofddorp, Netherlands. Two Oikocredit US board members were in attendance; Sara Price and John Berry.
Sara and John had the opportunity to meet with many members from the international organization and other support associations around the world. As of 2018, there were 558 members of Oikocredit – any of which are invited to attend the annual AGM. Members of Oikocredit could be from a support association, such as staff or board members, they could be from an affiliated church supporting Oikocredit, or a partner of Oikocredit invested in furthering the cooperative’s mission. The majority of members are from Western Europe, however Oikocredit is represented in countries around the world. The location of the AGM varies each year and provides an exciting way for the spread out members of the cooperative who might normally communicate over videoconference or email to meet in person and connect.
One main focus of this year’s AGM was communications. For such a large, global cooperative to maintain a successful communications strategy, all the branches need to work together as a team. This means communicating with each other about our focus and message. Other functions discussed at the AGM included investment impact, capacity building, and work in our priority sectors through more than 600 partner organizations in 33 focus countries (as of 2019). Work from the field is discussed from various members and highlights what is working well for Oikocredit. For example, in recent years our partners Price Risk Management workshops have been performing extremely well and at this years AGM the idea of building a physical permanent institute for farmers where capacity building workshops could be held all year round was discussed.
With 44 years of work investing in people, Oikocredit has shown they also highly value investing in their own people. By hosting an annual meeting since the start, staff, volunteers, board, and other members get the chance to be included in the holistic workings of the cooperative.