ILCU Foundation at 30
The Irish League of Credit Unions set up a fund in the early 1980s as a means to give back and help others. The ILCU International Development Ltd was officially registered in 1989 as a not-for-profit company, and subsequently received charitably status. Over the years we have provided financial and technical support to help develop and support credit union movements in Africa, Europe and South America. Our work embodies the credit union principle of 'Cooperation among Cooperatives'. In April 2109, we are officially celebrating 30 years as the charitable arm of the Irish credit union movement.
Our work in Sierra Leone
The ILCU Foundation began working in Sierra Leone in 2012 in collaboration with the Canadian Development Foundation. At the time there were only 12 credit unions. The progress made by the project was hampered by the devasating Ebola crisis in 2014. Currently our work in Sierra Leone is co-funded by Irish Aid and our aim is to grow credit union memberships to ensure financial inclusion for more people, especially women and those in rural communities. An ILCUF Ltd office was established and employs 8 local staff. In addition an apex organisation was set up as a representative body for the movement.
Cooperation among Cooperatives
Credit Unions are financial cooperatives, operating not-for-profit but on the principle of people helping people. The ILCU Foundation hosts delegations from credit unions around the world on an annual basis - this allows them to learn from the Irish credit union movement, to share ideas and cooperate and collaborate. A visit from credit unions representatives in 2018 saw the delegation visit Donore Credit Union, Ireland's oldest credit union.
The World Bank and G20 have stated that financial inclusion is an enabler to reducing poverty and boosting prosperity. However as of 2017, there are still 1.7 million unbanked people in the world - unbanked means they have no access to any regulated financial services including credit union membership. Credit unions allow people to access to secure savings and affordable loans.
Gambian Success Stories
The ILCU Foundation has been working in collaboration with the National Association of Cooperative Credit Unions of Gambia (NACCUG) since the beginning of the 1990’s. During this time the ILCU Foundation has been instrumental in the success of the movement and has brought the national body to a point of self-sustainability. Through the ILCU Foundation’s partnership with Irish Aid, NACCUG has developed a video boasting many success stories, including beneficiaries of financial literacy training which is only made possible through the support of Irish credit unions and their members.
Irish League of Credit Unions Foundation @ 25
Recently, the ILCU Foundation celebrated its 25th anniversary by hosting a weeklong International Partners Conference (IPC) and an inaugural Learning & Sharing Forum. To mark the silver anniversary, over one hundred delegates from across the island of Ireland descended to Johnstown House, Enfield, Co. Meath to take part in the Forum.
This was the first stand-alone event that the ILCU Foundation has had the pleasure of hosting, which was attended by credit union staff members, chairpersons, directors and former board members of the ILCU Foundation.
The international contingent was made up of high level delegates from the ILCU Foundation partner counties and donor agencies.
The Dóchas Code of Conduct on Images and Messages
The ILCU Foundation is a member of Dóchas, the umbrella group of non-governmental organisations in Ireland. As a member of Dóchas, the ILCU Foundation is a signatory to the Dóchas Code of Conduct on Images and Messaging which seeks to ensure that all materials and images used respect the human dignity of those in the developing world.
If you would like to know more about the Dóchas Code of Conduct on Images and Messaging please watch the promotional video.