Throughout the world, those with low, irregular or uncertain incomes are generally excluded from formal financial services. Over two billion people worldwide are still financially excluded – women and the rural poor generally being the most affected.
In 2016, the ILCU Foundation continued the fight against poverty and the injustice of financial exclusion by empowering individuals and educating organisations to provide access to strong, secure and sustainable credit unions in some of the poorest countries in the world. In 2016, the Foundation supported the credit-union systems in The Gambia, Ethiopia, Albania, Russia, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Belize, Ukraine and Moldova; however, The Gambia, Sierra Leone and Ethiopia comprised the focus of our work.
A focus on poverty reduction is always core to the Foundation’s programme and partner selection processes. Bearing this in mind, the characteristics of this support included:
- Technical support and training – provided on a broad range of financial cooperative issues;
- Capacity building of financial cooperative movements, including apex organisations;
- Maximising aid effectiveness, through knowledge management, exchange programmes and the development of local capabilities to deliver technical expertise;
It has been another successful year for the ILCU Foundation (ILCUF). Below are just a few highlights from our many 2016 activities:
- ILCUF was invited back for a second time by the government of Belize to provide technical assistance to the Belize Credit Union League.
- ILCUF continued to work in partnership with the UN’s International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Federal Cooperative Agency (FCA) in Ethiopia to provide support to the credit union movement there.
- ILCUF responded to the 2016 earthquake in Ecuador by contributing €25,000 to support the rebuilding of credit unions there.
- In partnership with Irish Aid, ILCUF continued to promote economic growth and inclusive development by providing sustainable member-owned financial services to poor rural communities in Sierra Leone and The Gambia.
- ILCUF hosted its fourth International Partners’ Workshop & Conference (IPC) in October 2016. Representatives from ILCUF long-term partner countries and development partners visited Dublin for a five-day programme to exchange ideas and views, learn more about the Irish movement and visit credit unions across Ireland.
Contributions towards the ILCU Foundation’s work from Irish credit unions equated to just over €635,000. This allowed the ILCU Foundation to collectively assist over 800,000 credit-union members in over 1,000 credit unions.
The ILCU Foundation and its partners would like to express gratitude and appreciation for this support; we are passionate about our work to reduce poverty and are committed to creating a financially-inclusive world. Thank you for your continued support, trust and encouragement.