THE EVOLUTION AND PROGRESS OF THE DEVELOPMENT EDUCATOR (“D.E.”)
PROGRAMMES BASED IN THE UNITED KINGDOM
The “Action Man” behind the development of the “D.E.” structure in the UK that was hosted by a credit union association on behalf of the entire movement was Alex Spence I-CUDE.
The cerebral thinker behind the “D.E.” courses held in the UK is Marlene Shiels, OBE, FCIBS (Hon), former Director of the World Council of Credit Unions (the first elected from the UK), Course Director inspiration behind both the Development Educator United Kingdom (D.E.U.K.) (that no longer exists) and the Development Educator Europe (D.E.E.) Course (a truly international one, with outreach similarities to the African, Asian and Caribbean D.E. courses).
Any graduate statistics that might be forthcoming are a bit sterile if read on their own. Basically in 15 years, there have been about 450 graduates. Each one should be continuously engaged in inspirational innovative post graduate projects in their mother credit unions, communities and the wider world. The spirit and ethos of being a “D.E.” is to see societal need and to try to fix it, creating a sub-stream of enthusiasm that pulls others along with them! Sadly it appears many UK graduates have seen “D.E.” as just a “rite of passage”.
EVOLUTION OF THE INTERNATIONAL CREDIT UNION LEADERSHIP EDUCATION & DEVELOPMENT FOUNDATION
In 2013, it was recognised by some that one credit union could not be asked continuously or morally (using its owner-members resources) to fund the programme or the funding necessary to provide course bursaries.
This thinking led to the setting up of the International Credit Union Leadership Development & Education Foundation (ICULD&EF) that promotes the “Filene” and “Biden” Awards and funds the “Pell Scholar” bursaries (for credit unionists lacking the finances to attend D.E. courses outside their home course). This charitable company was created using private funds (earned and raised) that did not come from any sources whose commercial activities compete with credit unions or from any league or association that could slant the Foundation’s core objectives of working for the entire movement in the UK and overseas; click here to find more about its evolution and purpose,
An annual Award Ceremony and Dinner (the UK’s Credit Union “Oscars”) is the major fundraising event. This is the only major fundraising event, using ticket sales, sponsorship and donations from the private sector only. The net proceeds after costs are used to provide the Pell Scholarship D.E. bursaries. Between 2015 and 2018, 22 bursaries were awarded to “Pell Scholars” from 13 countries and four continents, some from countries where Course Directors were endeavouring to establish new co-operative credit union systems. The Australian Mutuals Foundation (ICULDEF’S strategic partner) and the ICULDEF are the only organisations who engage in this endeavour.
All D.Es undertaking projects in their communities can enter the “Biden” Awards – full details here, as, by doing so, they can inspire other D.Es and will also stretch themselves physically and mentally. Edward Filene said (among many other things) “Do the best you can today, tomorrow do it better”.
The Asian Confederation of Credit Unions covering 22 countries in Asia, appointed the Foundation as its Honorary Asian DE Office in London and in 2017, this was raised to “partner organisation”.
Working partner status was conferred on the Foundation by the Caribbean DE programme - covering all nations of the Caribbean and its offshoot CanadaDE; .as well as the Australian Mutuals Foundation - that undertakes work with fragile children and vulnerable young adults in Australia, also conducting similar but far larger endeavours than the Foundation’s in Asia and the Pacific Rim.
In the same year Honorary Membership was awarded to the Foundation by the Filene Institute (USA) the world premier research and insight body for credit union and connected social economy matters, stating this was “to further help advocate and create changes driven by ICULD&EF”.
Having read about the “Filene” and “Biden” Awards in the “Co-operative News”, the Co-operative College (Manchester) approached the Foundation and, recognising the synergy of purpose of the two organisations, entered into a collaborative relationship.