Overview 2017


About our work

Throughout the world, those with low, irregular or uncertain incomes are generally excluded from formal financial services. Over 1.7 billion people worldwide are still financially excluded – women and the rural poor generally being the most affected.

ILCUF Ltd staff, Freetown Sierra Leone.

In 2017, 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 2017, the ILCU Foundation supported the credit-union systems in The Gambia, Ethiopia, Albania, Russia, Sierra Leone, 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;

Thanks to the support of almost 200 credit unions in 2017 we have continued to share the success of the Irish credit union movement. Contributions towards the ILCU Foundation’s work from Irish credit unions equated to just over €635,000.

  • Through our provision of financial and technical assistance we have supported 9 credit union movements to assist over 1,000 credit unions and 800,000 members
  • In our core countries – Ethiopia, The Gambia and Sierra Leone - we have supported 476 credit unions and 142,501 members
  • In 2017 for every €2 received in core funding from credit unions we leveraged almost €1 from government funding

What did we do?

  • We continued the implementation of a three-year programme (2015-2018) co-funded by Irish Aid to support the credit union movements in Sierra Leone and The Gambia
  • Graduation Microfinance (GMF) members received training in financial literacy
  • We began implementation of a new donor funded project to undertake development of national and regional apex bodies in Ethiopia
  • A social performance management (SPM) audit was conducted in The Gambia
  • We produced a number of technical manuals and toolkits including a strategic planning toolkit, country diagnostic study toolkit, stabilisation technical note, PEARLS manual and market research toolkit
  • We provided technical support to credit union movements in Albania, Moldova, Russia and Ukraine
  • The first Volunteer Coaching Programme took place in Sierra Leone.
  • We hosted a study visit delegation from Russia, Kazakhstan and Moldova
  • We visited a number of credit unions to update them on our work

Minister Ciarán Cannon, Alan Moore, CEO, ILCU Foundation and representatives from credit unions in Galway.


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.