In June 2020, Oikocredit US made a joint statement with Oikocredit Canada expressing our commitment to creating a more just and equal society. In the last year, we looked at our own internal policies and processes and our interactions with the Oikocredit cooperative to determine where and how we could make meaningful change.
Internally, we made three specific changes:
Developed a policy on diversity, equity and inclusion. This policy guides our internal processes and procedures, and will be reviewed annually.
Revised our recruitment and hiring process. We developed a process for bringing in a diverse set of candidates for any volunteer or paid position. This process covers where positions are posted, how candidates move through the process, and our approach to the interview process and experience. One key component is an initial blind screen of candidates. This process will be continually reviewed.
Broadened the composition of our board of directors. Oikocredit US conducts an annual survey of our Board of Directors. This survey includes demographic information, strengths and skills, and board operations and experience. After the 2020 survey, we confirmed that the diversity of our board did not reflect the values we hold as an organization. In spring of 2021 we doubled the size of our board, bringing in candidates with key expertise in finance and philanthropy, while also representing a diverse range of lived experiences.
Externally, we are working with other Oikocredit members in North America on a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Working Group, with the initial purpose to:
Promote learning on DEI within the Oikocredit affiliates worldwide, also known as Support Associations.
Identify DEI objectives for Oikocredit in North America and measure progress in achieving these objectives.
The DEI Working Group held a DEI discussion at the Oikocredit Annual General Meeting in June 2021 and continues to hold internal discussions. We are looking forward to the work this group will do in the next year.
Honoring our commitment will require continuous work and iterative analysis of progress, of which we intend to annually provide a public update.