The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) awarded WOCCU
US$60.5 million to expand financial services in Afghanistan for three years. The Rural Finance and Cooperative Development (RUFCOD) program is designed to
increase access to financial services primarily in southern and eastern
Afghanistan through the development and expansion of Islamic Investment and Finance Cooperatives (IIFCS) or credit unions. Achievement of RUFCOD project objectives will
improve the living conditions and livelihoods of cooperative members
and greatly increase economic activities and employment opportunities
in communities served by the program.
The program is also establishing the country's first national association for IIFCs to help them reach more small and medium-scale business owners, farmers and low-income households in underserved rural areas. The association will provide technical assistance and back-office support to the IIFCs as well as perform examinations and supervisory visits to maintain compliance with minimum performance standards. Over the course of the project, the association will develop a safety net consisting of short-term emergency loans to help the IIFCs with liquidity issues should they arise.