Overview 2018


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. A focus on financial inclusion and poverty reduction is always core to the ILCU Foundation’s work. Therefore the characteristics of the support we provide includes:

  • 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;
  • ILCUF Ltd staff, Freetown, Sierra Leone.

In 2018, 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 2018, the ILCU Foundation supported the credit union movements in The Gambia, Ethiopia and Sierra Leone - these are our three core countries and comprise the focus of our work. We also provided technical support and advice to credit union movements in East Africa, Albania, Moldova, Ukraine and Russia.

Thanks to the support of almost 200 credit unions in 2018 we have continued to share the success of the Irish credit union movement. Contributions towards the ILCU Foundation’s work from Irish credit unions amounted to just under €600,000.

  • Through our provision of financial and technical assistance we have supported credit union movements around the world to assist over 1,000 credit unions and 800,000 members
  • In our core countries, Ethiopia, The Gambia and Sierra Leone, we supported 466 credit unions and 152,727 members
  • In 2018 for every €2 received in core funding from credit unions we leveraged almost €1 from government funding

What did we do?

  • An independent evaluation of the three-year programme (2015-2018) co-funded by Irish Aid to support the credit union movements in Sierra Leone and The Gambia was undertaken
  • A field office was opened in Freetown, Sierra Leone, in May, ILCUF Ltd employs 7 people, who are working to revive the credit union movement in Sierra Leone
  • Irish Aid awarded funding of €750,000 to the ILCU Foundation in August in support of a 3 year project in Sierra Leone which is co-funded by credit union contributions
  • A number of workshops and training was provided to develop regional apex bodies in Ethiopia as part of IFAD co-funded project
  • 6 volunteers participated in the Volunteer Coaching Programme in Sierra Leone and The Gambia providing support to our partners for two weeks
  • 7 volunteers participated in the first Governance Volunteer Programme to The Gambia to share their knowledge and advice to fellow Board members
  • ILCU Foundation and ACCOSCA are jointly supporting the revival of the apex body in Zimbabwe
  • We hosted delegations from East Africa, Moldova and Russia as part of international study visits to share our knowledge with others
  • We visited a number of credit unions to update them on our work and attended various credit union events

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


Thank you

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 for your support in 2018:

  • 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
  • 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 first Governance Volunteer Programme to The Gambia