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Our team

Many people, both in Quebec and overseas, support our mission on a daily basis. They are our employees, Desjardins Group specialists, our Proxfin partners and the organizations we work with in the field. We're successful because we're a big team with a single vision and everyone contributes in their own way.

A team with a global outlook

The Desjardins International Development (DID) team includes over 100 people with financial inclusion experience, at our head office, at our regional office in Dakar, Senegal, and in beneficiary countries. They use their open minds, expertise and people skills to build connections and make a real difference for disadvantaged populations.

Strength in numbers

Being part of the largest financial cooperative in North America is an asset for our organization and our local partners.

A source of inspiration

We develop our expertise based on the Desjardins Group model, approaches and strategies.

Expertise to bolster our inter­ventions

Desjardins Group is a considerable source of specialized human resources for short- and long-term projects.

A warm welcome

Our partners come to visit every year and enjoy the opportunity to benefit from our experience and expertise.

50 years of inclusive finance

Description Transcript
50 years of inclusive finance

2 min 49 s | Added on October 29, 2020

Travel back in time to Desjardins International Development's first mission in Burkina Faso and learn more about the organization's work over the past decades.

50 years of inclusive finance

Note: The information in brackets describes the audio and visual content of the video that is not dialogue or narration.


[Archival photos taken by volunteers working abroad with Desjardins International Development (DID) are displayed in the background.]

[On-screen text: In the late 1960s, developing countries faced many challenges.]

[On-screen text: In Canada, the Canadian International Development Agency and Desjardins International Development were created.]

[Various photos and newspaper clippings showing the beginnings of Desjardins International Development.]

Pierre-Olivier Maheux: DID was one the first Canadian NGOs to arrive, and its staying power is what sets it apart.

[Cut to Pierre-Olivier Maheux in interview]

[On-screen text: Pierre-Olivier Maheux, Desjardins Group Historian]

Pierre-Olivier Maheux: There certainly aren't very many NGOs that arrived during that period that have lasted until now.

[In the background: A map of the world and archival photos.]

[On-screen text: DID first went to Burkina Faso to adapt the caisse populaire model.]

[Cut to Pierre-Olivier Maheux in interview]

Pierre-Olivier Maheux: The first mission, the first project to create caisses, was in Burkina Faso in 1972.

[Archival pictures of the first mission in Burkina Faso: meetings, Diebougou savings club, workers]

Pierre-Olivier Maheux: In many of those countries, particularly in Africa, it was a decolonization situation. Many of these countries gained independence after World War II. Finally they were taking control of their country and their institutions.

And they pretty much had to rebuild things. So the cooperative model was of interest to them, because institutions were set up that belonged to the people.

[On-screen text: Missions carried out by true pioneers.]

[Background: archival photos, "Burkina Faso" can be made out]

[Cut to Michel Lagacé in interview]

[On-screen text: Michel Lagacé, first DID cooperant]

Michel Lagacé: At the time, I was the first cooperant who went to the CIDR, now known as Desjardins International Development.

[Cut to archival photos of Lagacé’s missions]

Michel Lagacé: Initially, it involved road shows to explain about savings and credit, and discuss how a caisse could operate.

We had a real taste for adventure.

[Cut to archival photos of Lagacé's missions]

Michel Lagacé: When I left Burkina Faso, I said to myself, "This is great, we're leaving something behind for them." There was a structure, the 3 caisses were operational, and there were service outlets available.

Today, it's a network that extends across the entire country, but it began very, very, very modestly.

[On-screen text: Desjardins International Development is now present worldwide.]

[Cut to interview with Pierre-Olivier Maheux, Desjardins Group Historian]

Pierre-Olivier Maheux: When we first created DID, there were 2 poles of activity: rural development and savings and credit projects. This meant actually going and setting up caisses populaires in various countries.

[Cut to video of a caisse opening in Burkina Faso]

[View of various countries in Asia, Latin America and Africa: people working at the caisse, meetings, workers in the fields]

Pierre-Olivier Maheux: Over the years, DID's support evolved. At one point, we stopped creating institutions and started supporting existing institutions, to ensure a transfer of expertise, to expand these institutions.

Starting in the 1990s, we began focusing on the finance aspect and this led to various other components: gender equity, the environment and support for young people and entrepreneurs.

Nowadays, DID is really all about inclusive finance and the idea is to make all financial services accessible to different populations.

[On-screen text: Desjardins International Development (DID) has covered a lot of ground in the last 50 years! Carrying out 600 mandates in 65 countries, DID has helped make financial services available to tens of millions of people.]

[On-screen logos: Desjardins International Development and Government of Canada]

[Music: Desjardins jingle]

[On-screen logo: Desjardins]


Proxfin: an international exchange network unique to DID

In 2006, DID established the Proxfin network for a large number of its inclusive finance institution partners as a platform for dialogue and study. The network promotes communication and best practices among these institutions, DID and Desjardins Group, providing inspiration and helping to reinforce their contributions to the communities they serve.

Proxfin members

Board of Directors and Management Committee

Board of Directors

Lisa Baillargeon
Chair and Director
Caisse Desjardins Charles-LeMoyne

Richard Giguère
Vice-Chair and External Director

Isabelle Mireault
Secretary and Director
Caisse Desjardins de Joliette et du Centre de Lanaudière

Sophie-Emmanuelle Chebin
External Director

Christian Giroux
Caisse Desjardins de la Chaudière

Maxime Lavoie
Caisse Desjardins de l'Ouest de la Montérégie

Chilandre Patry
Caisse Desjardins du Centre et de l'Est de Laval

Jean Lebel
External Director

Jocelyne Trudel
Caisse Desjardins de Rouyn-Noranda

Management Committee

Gerardo Almaguer
President and Chief Executive Officer

Michèle Bilodeau
Director, Human Resources and Security

Robert Cheberiak
Senior Director, Investment

Martin Ruel
Senior Director, Expertise and Partnerships

Julie Veillette
Senior Director, Finance and Administration

Patrick Cyr
Senior Director, International Operations


Get to know us better

Apply for an international development job with DID

Apply for an international development job with DID

Our projects

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Impact investing in developing countries

Impact investing in developing countries