The ILCU International Development Foundation (Foundation) have been awarded €960,000 in funding from Irish Aid. The Foundation was one of 11 Irish NGOs granted funding from the Civil Society Fund.
The funding will be received over three years and will be used to continue to support the development of a strong and sustainable credit union movement in Sierra Leone. The new three year Step-Up project will build upon the current project and it will enable the credit union movement to develop their services and operations, to grow membership, progress depth of outreach and advance towards effective credit union supervision. The Foundation began providing support to the fledgling credit union movement in Sierra Leone in 2012. The credit union movement in Sierra Leone was devastated by the civil war in the 1990s, with only six credit unions surviving. In addition to supporting grassroots credit unions, the Foundation has built up a local committed team in Freetown, and has supported the establishment of an apex body for the movement, the National Cooperative Credit Union Association (NaCCUA).
Announcing the funding Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Simon Coveney T.D. said “Support for civil society is an integral part of Ireland’s overseas development programme and our goal to reach the ‘furthest behind first”. Minister for Overseas Development Aid and Diaspora, Mr. Colm Brophy, T.D., added “Whether working with communities at grassroots level or advocating for human rights and the protection of civil society space at international fora these innovative projects will help deliver tangible change to the lives of some of the most vulnerable including in fragile contexts such as Sierra Leone and Yemen.” Read the full DFA press release here.
Responding to the Irish Aid funding, Alan Moore, CEO, said; “We are delighted and grateful to be granted this funding from Irish Aid to continue our work to develop a strong credit union movement in Sierra Leone. The Foundation was set up to share the success of the Irish credit union movement with similar movements in the developing world. Obtaining this funding is a huge endorsement of the Irish credit union model and a great boost to the credit union movement in Sierra Leone to help continue to build their capacity to provide financial inclusion for people in their country. Our work in Sierra Leone will continue to be co-funded by the Foundation (40%) and Irish Aid (60%). The Foundation wishes to thank the many Irish credit unions across the island of Ireland for their continue support and generous donations.”
Speaking about new three year project, Lilian Songo, Chair of NaCCUA, expressed her thanks to the Irish credit union movement for their continued commitment to Sierra Leone and to Irish Aid for supporting credit union development in Sierra Leone, “We are very grateful to you for helping us to have a strong credit union movement and training our credit union leaders to provide much needed financial services to our members.”
The awarding of this funding is testament to Foundation’s work and to the credit union as a model for socio-economic and human development. Credit unions play an important role within their communities and provide access to much needed affordable and ethical savings and loans. By sharing the Irish credit union experience with movements in low-income developing countries, the Foundation is supporting individuals, their families and entire communities to be financially included and help reduce poverty, much in the same way the credit union movement brought financial services to rural communities and towns across the island of Ireland when it was established over 60 years ago.
The Foundation wishes to acknowledge the Irish Credit Unions who donate to our work and Irish Aid for their support of our work in Sierra Leone.