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“I got the chance to look at issues that I would be able to channel to the relevant authorities to make lives better for the people.”By Leon SuseranJust mention the existence of credit unions and cooperatives in Guyana and the name ‘Jenny’ Conway immediately comes to mind. She has dedicated a large portion of her life to building and shaping this vital financial institution and ensured its longevity and sustenance over the years of which she was in its charge.Jennifer ConwayHer service, too, around her community, built her a reputation that is strong and binding, especially through her long years of service in the much respected Lions Club.This week, we introduce you to Jennifer Conway, born at Number 40 Village, West Coast of Berbice to Alfred Faucett and Elfrida Fortune-Arthur.‘Jenny’ attended the Lichfield Primary School followed by the New Guyana High, Comprehensive High and Johnson’s High. She, like many others, wrote the College of Preceptors Exams thus enabling her to pursue her professional career. She desired to become a nurse.This desire was nurtured by folks in the village,cheap nfl jerseys black friday, but her real love was in the field of secretarial work and related studies in short-hand and typing. Conway migrated to Bermine Housing Scheme in New Amsterdam.“I didn’t really give nursing much thought growing up,Cheap NFL Jerseys, as there were not many opportunities at the time to enter that field. So as I advanced in age, I thought that I would maybe look at secretarial studies.”She did courses in Cooperatives and enrolled for classes at the Kuru Kuru College in 1978 where she pursued Credit Union and Management and learned the whole gamut about the operations of the former. During this period,Wholesale Authentic NFL Jerseys, Conway became involved with the Committee of Management of the Credit Union, a position which she held for the next twelve years.She was an avid and dedicated farmer, too. And this earned her a winning place in the farming and gardening competitions back in the day.“I just like farming. I grew up in cash crop and cattle farms— my grandparents used to take me to the farms…so when I came to New Amsterdam, when I wasn’t employed, I did farming.”Lion Conway, under her Presidency, donating chairs to a special needs school in New Amsterdam several years ago.She did this on her own, since her husband had his full-time job. She made the news in a Guyana Chronicle article of November 26, 1984, “Agriculture is the base for feeding family, says Urban Garden Winner.” Conway explained that from the sale of the first crop of tomatoes, her family was able to purchase a length of hose.“All surplus of green vegetables and milk from our two cows were distributed to relatives and sold around the community.” She was a dedicated farm-girl back then and endorsed domestic agricultural practices, the bedrock for supporting families.Upon completion of studies at Kuru-Kuru, she became employed with the Berbice Mining Enterprises (Bermine) in the inventory section as well as the benefits office and accounting department. Afterwards, she became acquainted with popular New Amsterdamer Mrs. Brenda Johnson, who was a dedicated community worker and nurse, and who was also actively involved with the People’s National Congress (PNC). Johnson invited Conway to PNC meetings and later took her around to do community work in the town. Conway was subsequently employed with the PNC as a Field Officer. “Those years were memorable. I recall visiting house-to-house to do the census. More importantly,Cheap Stitched Jerseys, I got the chance to look at issues that I would be able to channel to the relevant authorities to make lives better for the people.“I think I had the opportunity to see poverty in its true sense. I worked as a Field Officer in the depressed area of Angoy’s Avenue, and going there to just check, you weren’t only doing political work, you were going to check to see why the children weren’t attending school and if there was any way that you could have helped.”“I would have done that along with Brenda Johnson and the welfare group. We worked assiduously during this period and helped to improve the lives of the persons living there,cheap nfl jerseys discount, and I tried to help in whatever way I could… I enjoyed that and I continued to be a community worker.”In 1997, having gained immense training and experience in the field of cooperativism, she took on a full-time job at the New Amsterdam Cooperative Credit Union as the Secretary/Manager. Having assumed that position, she was encouraged to use her expertise to examine and assess the operations of overseas credit unions and cooperatives. Conway earned two scholarships to do this, visiting Canada and Israel.Community service: Ms. Conway laying groundwork on a bridge project.Apart from her work in the credit union and cooperatives, she has given over 20 years of service to the Lions Club. She served in almost all capacities including Secretary, Official Secretary, Treasurer (several times), Director, President (twice), and Zone Chairperson (twice).Under her tenure as President, Lion Conway’s focus was on improved seating accommodation at the New Amsterdam Hospital. Also, she effected much needed repairs to the bridge adjoining Republic Road to Vryman’s Erven and distribution of books to schools, wheelchairs, cancer victims’ funds to enable surgeries, etc.Ms. Conway is also an active councillor of the Municipality of New Amsterdam since 2001. Prior to that, she used to cook, bake and organize as well as spearhead tedious self-help and clean-up campaigns with residents of her community.“We used to do that on a regular basis. I would like to see the day when I wake up and New Amsterdam is clean; all the roads are good, and stuff like that. We used to have steady self-help work, and I would have played a more major role outside of the Council than while I was an official Councillor.”She remembers approaching Ms. Khatijah Rambarran of the then Social Impact Amelioration Programme (SIMAP [now defunct]) and appealing to her for motivation for her self- help group in the community. Conway was able to access foodstuff and tools to distribute to workers in her community to give them encouragement during clean-up campaigns.Our ‘Special Person’ was also instrumental in getting the roads of Bermine Housing Scheme repaired after a meeting of appeal was held with Former President Bharrat Jagdeo during a visit to New Amsterdam in 2006.“At the meeting, they voted me as the Chairperson and advised that we set up a Community Development Council (CDC) and we sent in a proposal and within 48 hours, I was able to get that done…We submitted that, and in less than a week we heard from the President…But all things being equal, the road was not properly done.”For the record, the road is in a terrible state today.Attending a Credit Union workshop in Israel in 2007 (2nd from Left)Due to an illness, she retired in 2006. In 2010, she was approached by the Lions Club to be of service at the Eye Clinic in the town. She was enthusiastically involved in this programme which saw the achievement of the ‘Lion of the Year’ award that same year.She was also honoured in 2010 by the Berbice Regional Health Authority (BRHA) for International Women’s Day.Ms. Conway received several other accolades for her service to the Lions Club, as well for community service: Outstanding Secretary of N/A Lioness Club    1994/95, 95/96; Dedicated Service as President of N/A Lions Club 1997/98; Secretary of N/A Lions Club 1998/99; for recognition of Exceptional Leadership and Devoted service to N/A Lions Club 2003/04; Outstanding Zone Chairperson 2012; Dedicated service as Treasurer 2010, 2011,China Jerseys, 2012 and 2013; as well as one of the 250 persons honoured this past August 1 by Council of Friends of New Amsterdam (COFONA) for Emancipation 2013.She has been a dedicated member of the Lutheran Church, which she has served as Treasurer for many, many years. She also is on the Executive Body of the Lutheran Church in Guyana and is very busy these days attending meetings.Ms. Conway reflects that her most satisfying years were spent working at the credit union. Her pleasure from this process was a result of helping her members in some cases, crucial moments. She insists her training and experiences took effect in her personal life and improved her character. “Those days were very productive and rewarding.”So, what about these days?“There isn’t a lot of emphasis being placed today on credit unions and cooperatives in Guyana and they seem to be dying institutions. I’m disappointed by this. I was able to visit other countries to participate in credit union work study programmes and credit union workshops as well. These were beneficial and allowed me to appreciate the importance of what I was doing.”Her observations of the credit unions in Canada and Israel really impressed her. Many of those institutions essentially functioned as full-fledged commercial banks which fell under the purview of the state. This ensured better operations and the population was highly involved.Councillor Conway (standing, sixth from right) participating in an Environmental Workshop at the Berbice High School in 2003.“The banks were the credit unions…and there was also a credit union in the mall…but I was particularly astonished at the assistance and I hope that someday our government would place a little more emphasis on the credit unions; the cooperatives generally…it can help…you just need more prudent management. Frankly I don’t think enough emphasis is being placed on cooperatives,” she asserted.“My life has been quite simple. I feel that I am a community person. I like to move around the community to do things and so my focus was on that. During my spare time, I enjoy knitting and handicraft and absolutely love gardening and flowers.”Happily by her side today are her loving children: Glendon, Elton and Marcia. They are understandably proud of their special mom.