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Celebrating 35 Years of the ILCU Foundation

The International Development Foundation is celebrating 35 years of sharing the Irish Credit Union experience. The establishment of the Foundation in the 1980s, as the international development arm of the Irish League of Credit Unions, provided a mean for Irish Credit Unions to support credit union development internationally, in the same way the Irish movement received help from its American and Canadian peers in the early days. 

For the past 35 years, our generous supporters and volunteers, have helped to build and support credit union movements in low-income developing countries across Eastern Europe, Africa, and Central America – places where stable financial infrastructure, a prerequisite for growth and prosperity, has for decades been under-developed or non-existent. Today, the Foundation directly supports credit union movements in Sierra Leone and Ethiopia. The Foundation’s work is focused on supporting strong, secure, and sustainable credit unions to ensure financial inclusion and reduce poverty – providing education and training programmes for credit union staff and volunteers in-country, and engaging with key stakeholders to support the right environment for the credit union movement to prosper. The World Bank acknowledges that “greater access to financial services is a key enabler to reducing poverty and boosting prosperity” and “has been identified as an enabler for 7 of the 17 SDGs“. 

The work of the Foundation is only possible thanks to the credit unions who generously donate on an annual basis, and to our wonderful volunteers who have directly shared their own experience with our local partners in-country. Many thanks to the Irish League of Credit Unions who had the foresight back in the 1980s to set up the Foundation using the credit union model as a means to give back – ‘cooperation among cooperatives’ at its very best. 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.

A huge thank you to everyone who has supported our work of the years.