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ILCU Foundation and IFAD to support Women’s Economic Empowerment in East Africa

Funded by Irish Aid

ILCU Foundation and IFAD partnership to support Women's Economic Empowerment

Margaret Heffernan, ILCU Foundation Board member, Alan Moore, CEO, ILCU Foundation, Seán Fleming, Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs, Christine Barretto, ILCU Foundation Board Member at the announcement of the funding.

The ILCU Foundation in partnership with the United Nations International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), have announced the Women’s Economic Empowerment (WEE) programme in East Africa.

The programme which is funded by Irish Aid, will promote women’s financial inclusion in three countries – Ethiopia, Tanzania and Rwanda by ensuring they have access to affordable financial services. Irish Aid has committed to total funding of €2.5 million.

Making the announcement on International Credit Union Day, Minister Sean Fleming TD, Minister of State for International Development and Diaspora said: “Irish Aid is proud to fund this programme, which will have a significant impact in the lives of women in Ethiopia, Tanzania and Rwanda. This programme will support women in rural areas to access credit. The Irish League of Credit Unions (ILCU) plays a vital role in communities across Ireland and we are delighted to support the ILCU Foundation in bringing this expertise to communities in East Africa. We are also proud to collaborate with IFAD in this initiative, in support of women’s economic empowerment in East Africa.

The ILCU Foundation and IFAD have extensive expertise in rural finance and are experienced in promoting women’s financial and economic empowerment. The ILCU Foundation will be responsible for the rural finance technical assistance component of the programme. Aimed at improving access to financial services for smallholder households, its purpose is to help women, to diversify their income generation activities and to play a greater role in their local economies. This will be achieved by building capacity to promote an inclusive, modern, and sustainable rural financial sector. Support provided by the ILCU Foundation includes technical support, peer exchanges and training.

Alan Moore, CEO, ILCU Foundation said; “We are delighted and grateful to be part of this important initiative which is aimed at ensuring rural women have access to affordable financial services. Credit unions play an important role within their communities to provide access to secure savings and affordable loans and this project will support women in rural communities in East Africa to be financially included. Ireland has had a proud tradition of development work in Africa, and we look forward to partnering with Irish Aid, IFAD and local partners on-the-ground to implement this project and work towards the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals”.

Satu Santala, Associate Vice President for External Relations and Governance, IFAD said; “IFAD welcomes Ireland’s continued support and contribution to women’s economic empowerment in East Africa. We look forward to strengthening our partnership with Ireland and the Irish League of Credit Unions Foundation to implement this new initiative and support rural women’s access to financial services.”Alan Moore added “The Foundation’s work is only possible thanks to the generosity of Irish credit unions who support our work on an annual basis. Thank you to all the credit unions who allow us to share the Irish credit union experience to empower our local partners to build safe and sound credit unions, helping members to build a better future for themselves and their families“.