Everyone needs an ally at some point in their lives. When we find one, it can make all the difference in the world. Our purpose is to be that ally in low-income developing communities, to assist them to create an equitable financial environment so that they can provide access to affordable ethical savings and loans.
A credit union is a not-for-profit financial cooperative, owned by its members, to provide affordable financial services in communities and workplaces. The philosophy of the Credit Union movement is grounded in the co-operative values of: equality, mutual self-help & equity. At the cornerstone of the philosophy is “people helping people”. By working together through co-operation, people can achieve far more together than individually on their own.
Building on the success of the Irish Credit Union movement, the International Development Foundation, “the Foundation”, works with credit union movements internationally to achieve a collective aim – financial inclusion for people and communities everywhere.
Both the American and Canadian Credit Union movements supported the early developments of the Irish Credit Union movement. In the 1960’s, the Irish credit union movement expanded rapidly throughout the island of Ireland and during this time credit unions played an important role within their communities to provide savings and loans facilities for people who needed financial services. The need for credit unions in Ireland was evident and they greatly improved the standards of living and contributed to the development of the local economy. The movement gained further success as it matured and credit unions had gathered a great deal of knowledge that they wanted to share with other emerging movements.
The Foundation was incorporated in April, 1989, becoming the international development of arm of the Irish League of Credit Unions, and subsequently received charitable status. From the early 1990s the Foundation began directly supporting credit union development in low-income and developing countries. The Foundation provides access to the knowledge, expertise and support required to fight poverty and achieve financial inclusion in rural and urban communities, with a particular focus on those of Ethiopia, The Gambia and Sierra Leone.
Recognising the success and the difference that the Irish Credit Union movement has and continues to make on the island of Ireland, the work of the Foundation is supported and made possible by the generous donations from the Irish Credit Union movement.
The funding received from institutional donors such as Irish Aid and IFAD is testament to the Foundation’s work and the credit union as sustainable and impactful and a model for socio-economic and human development. Every €1 donated to the Foundation can be leveraged through the co-funding model used by our institutional donors, effectively almost doubling the donation towards the important work that we do.
The work of the Foundation is also recognised and supported by leading corporates in the credit union sector who contribute in excess of €20,000 per year towards the delivery of our programmes in the countries where we provide support.
Working closely with dedicated local partners and credit union movements in the developing countries of Ethiopia, the Gambia and Sierra Leone, the Foundation assists in building an equitable financial environment for all by providing access to education and affordable and ethical saving and loan products.
By working together to strengthen the credit union movement in low-income developing countries, we are one step closer to achieving financial inclusion for all. We are people helping people.