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We’ve been tackling poverty in communities to build better lives.

Our mission is to fight poverty through financial inclusion.

We work in Ethiopia, Sierra Leone and The Gambia.

How You Can Help

Our Mission

We believe that credit unions can empower individuals and communities in the developing world to fight poverty and financial exclusion through ethical savings and loans.

Our Work

Build the capacity of credit union staff and volunteers

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.

Empower individuals and communities

In our core countries, Ethiopia, The Gambia and Sierra Leone, to date, we have supported the establishment of 466 credit unions that now have 152,727 members.

Share the Irish credit union experience

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.

Our Partners

The ILCU Foundation is funded by almost 200 Irish Credit Unions, who know the value of the credit union model to individuals and communities across the island of Ireland. In addition to our core funding from credit unions we are fortunate to obtain funding from external sources: institutional donors, development partners and corporate organisations. The external funding received is testament to the good work we undertake and acknowledgement of the credit union as a model to improve socio-economic and human development.   

Meet Hajat Ahmed

Hajat is a member of the local village savings and credit cooperative (SACCO) in Tehula, she is a mother of five. She used a small loan that she received from her group to start a small-scale poultry business. She now has additional income from selling eggs and poultry and is developing her farming business.

For Hajat, this is all for her children’s future, “I want my children to grow up with opportunities that I never had. I can support their education so they may achieve a better life. I will get satisfaction from their success.

Member Stories

Credit unions can provide saving accounts and loan facilities for poverty-stricken communities in developing countries which can allow poor people to save for emergency situations or to borrow money to advance the lives of their families. Read stories from credit union members from across the globe.


Marieatou is a member of Ding Ding Bantaba Credit Union. She took her first loan to buy a deep freezer and she used this freezer to set up a business enterprise to sell ice to people living in her local community. This enabled Marietou to earn extra income for her family.

Wosenu Eshetu

Wosenu, 43, lives with his wife and 4 children. He is a founding member of Hagudenu Wuji RuSACCO, established in 2012 in Bora Kalo village – it currently has 89 members. He started with a monthly saving of ETB10 (30cents). After 12 months, he took his first loan of ETB1,000 (€30).

Marie Kabbia

Marie Kabbia is a market trader in Freetown, Sierra Leone. When Marie first started selling in the local market she sold bags of onions. She became a member of her local credit union, Bayconfields Credit Union and borrowed money to buy more goods for her stall.

Want to get involved?

+353 (0) 1 614 6700


ILCU Foundation
33-41 Lower Mount Street
Dublin 2