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, this means they do not have access to savings and loans – women and the rural poor generally being the most affected. A focus on financial inclusion and poverty reduction is always core to the ILCU Foundation’s work.In 2019, 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 2019, we supported credit union movements in Ethiopia, Sierra Leone and The Gambia - these core countries and comprise the focus of our work. We also provided technical support and advice to credit union movements in East Africa and Eastern Europe.
Thanks to the support of almost 200 credit unions in 2019 we have continued to share the Irish credit union experience with others. Contributions from Irish credit unions towards our work amounted to just over €530,000.
What did we do?
- In our core countries, Ethiopia, The Gambia and Sierra Leone, we supported 466 credit unions and 152,727 members
- Year 1 activities of the new 3 year co-funded Irish Aid programme 'Financial Inclusion for Resilience in Sierra Leone' were implemented , with a large focus on trainging staff, volunteers and members
- The first apex body for savings and credit cooperatives in Amhara was launched. A number of workshops and trainings were provided to further develop regional apex bodies in Ethiopia as part of IFAD co-funded project, including developing manuals for the movement.
- 7 volunteers participated in the Volunteer Coaching Programme in Sierra Leone and The Gambia providing support to our partners for two weeks
- We piloted our CEO Volunteer Programme where five CEOs travelled to Sierra Leone to see the movement at first-hand and provide peer support.
- 7 volunteers participated in the Governance Volunteer Programme to The Gambia to share their knowledge and advice to fellow Board members in The Gambia
- ILCU Foundation, supported by ACCOSCA, held its first South South Technical Assistance workshop in Nairobi
- CUMA organised and hosted a fundraiser in support of our work and raised €10,000
- We hosted delegations from Moldova, Ethiopia and Kenya as part of international study visits to share our knowledge with others
- We celebrated 30 years as the charitable arm of the Irish credit union movement and hosted our 5th International Partners Conference
The ILCU Foundation staff and Board of Directors would like to express gratitude and appreciation for the support we receive; we are passionate about our work to creating a financially-inclusive world and reduce poverty, thank you to the following:
- Credit unions and their members, for their contributions, which allow us to continue our work and share the success of the Irish credit union movement
- The credit unions and their staff, who kindly hosted delegations as part of study tour visits, allowing them to share information and learn from first-hand experience
- Credit union staff, management and boards of directors who met with ILCU Foundation staff throughout the year
- Credit unions that allowed us to make presentations to their members at their AGMs
- The various ILCU Chapters that allowed us to make presentations at their respective monthly meetings and events
- The Irish League of Credit Unions for bearing staff, fundraising and administrative costs. To the ILCU Board, management and staff, thank you for your continuous support, and for your help on various projects and aspects of our work
- CUMA for allowing us to promote our work at their Spring and Autumn conference and for organising a fundraising event in support of our work
- The ILCU Foundation advocates and volunteers who worked alongside us to raise awareness at chapter meetings and Credit Union events
- The Irish coaches on the Gambia and Sierra Leone Coaching Programmes and their respective credit unions for their support, and for volunteering their time and skills
- The volunteers who participated in our CEO Volunteer Programme, Sierra Leone and Governance Volunteer Programme, The Gambia