WELLINGTON, PEI – Nov. 14, 2012 – Wanting to learn more about PEI’s Acadian co-op movement and about local economic development, a leading co-operator from the developing East African nation of Guinea recently visited the Evangeline region in the hope of discovering new methods and ways of doing things that she could adapt to her homeland’s needs.
Mrs. Barry Fatoumata explained to the Islanders she met that she is the executive director of MECREPAG, a French loans and savings mutual for fishers, artisans and farmers in Guinea. The institution is essentially a credit union that was established in 2007 in collaboration a Canadian support program. In addition to providing loans, the organization also works in co-operative development and in the training of its beneficiaries. A majority of those seeking credit from MECREPAG are fishers and organizations involved in processing, smoking or selling fish.
Fatoumata said she was extremely pleased with the various meetings that were organizers specifically for her by the Conseil de développement coopératif de l’Î.-P.-É. (CDC). She promised to return to her home country, to digest all the information she has received and to re-contact some of the Islanders she met so they could answer more of her questions.
During her brief Nov. 13 visit, she received informal presentations from the CDC, RDÉE Prince Edward Island, the Acadian and Francophone Chamber of Commerce of PEI and the LIENS immigration project.
Fatoumata then met with Alfred Arsenault, general manager of Evangeline-Central Credit Union, who explained the three-branch institution’s structure and operation.
Finally, she met with two local fishermen, Robert Gallant and Gerald Arsenault, president of the Acadian Fishermen’s Co-op. They took her on a brief tour of the local wharves and showed her the types of boats used by Island fishermen.
During her Canadian visit, Fatoumata was accompanied by Yvon Poirier, formerly of Cape Egmont, who is presently the president of the International Committee of the Réseau canadien de développement économique communautaire in Quebec.
When they left the Island, they were headed to various locations in New Brunswick.
CUTLINE: Mrs. Barry Fatoumata, right, executive director of the francophone Guinea savings and loans mutual for fishers, artisans and farmers, visited several Acadian regions in Atlantic Canada to learn more about co-op business methods. She is seen with her travel companion, Yvon Poirier from the Réseau canadien de développement économique communautaire, in discussions with Velma Robichaud from the Conseil de développement coopératif de l’Î.-P.-É.
For more information :
Co-op development officer
Le Conseil de développement coopératif de l’Î.-P.-É.