Dublin, 30th April 2015 – 3-year project aims to allow a quarter of a million in The Gambia and Sierra Leone access to affordable and flexible financial services
The Irish League of Credit Unions’ International Development Foundation (ILCUF) has been selected by Irish Aid to deliver an exclusive three-year project to develop credit unions in the Gambia and Sierra Leone.
The landmark contract is geared towards poverty reduction by expanding financial services in rural areas. The project aims to increase the income and assets of over a quarter of million poor rural households, through enhanced access to affordable and flexible financial services, mainly savings and loans facilities. Sierra Leone and Gambia are two of the poorest countries in the world, ranking 183 and 172 respectively out of 187 countries.
“We have a long standing relationship with the Irish credit union movement, which began in 1999; they have helped us grow from a very small inactive movement to a strong self-sustainable movement. This support will allow us to further expand our services to the poor in rural areas, in particular women who are often excluded from formal financial services. It’s about empowerment and giving everyone real opportunities to build a better future” Baboucarr Jeng, General Manager of the National Association of Credit Co-operatives in the Gambia (NACCUG) commented.
Seán Sherlock, Minister of State for Development, Trade Promotion, and North South Co-Operation, added, “I am delighted that Irish Aid is continuing to support the ILCU Foundation in its important work in The Gambia and implementing a new project in Sierra Leone. Projects like these play a vital role in helping to promote economic growth in poor rural communities”.
The ILCU Foundation has a proven track record developing emerging credit union movements, mostly in Sub Saharan Africa. Irish Aid has backed this model of socio-economic change in recent years and the charitable arm of the movement is supported by hundreds of credit unions and their members across the island of Ireland.
Alan Moore, ILCU Foundation General Manager, concluded by stating, “We are delighted and grateful to be granted this funding from Irish Aid to support the development of credit unions in Sierra Leone and The Gambia. Ireland has had a proud tradition of development work in Africa. The ILCU Foundation was set up to maintain this tradition and 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 our partner countries fighting to alleviate people from poverty. This would not have been achievable without the financial support of Irish credit unions across the island of Ireland and we thank them for their continued donations.”