Credit Unions Help Credit Unions through World Council and CCA-Sponsored Uganda Project

November 01, 2006

A credit union member visits Lwamujungu SACCO, 21 kilometers east of Kabale in southern Uganda.

Madison, WI—World Council of Credit Unions, Inc. (WOCCU) and the Canadian Co- operative Association (CCA) have launched a novel partnership to strengthen the credit union movement in Uganda.

The effort is unique for two reasons. While the two organizations often coordinate their development efforts and communicate frequently, this is the first joint project initiated in more than 20 years. Furthermore, the project will be funded entirely from money raised within the credit union system. Without the need to seek funds and report to governments or other external donors, CCA, World Council and the Uganda Co-operative Savings and Credit Union, Ltd. (UCSCU) will have greater scope for flexibility and creativity throughout their three-year partnership.

"The SACCO Voluntary Supervision Project is fully funded by credit union and individual contributions to the Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions and the Co-operative Development Foundation of Canada," announced Pete Crear, World Council CEO. "The realization of this project makes a strong statement about the reach and impact credit unions and individuals can make when we pull together for the sake of developing young credit union movements."

In Uganda, Savings and Credit Co-operatives (SACCOs) have faced a daunting array of obstacles, including corruption, conflict, health pandemics and economic disparity. There is significant poverty in Uganda—about one- third of the country's estimated 28 million people live in abject poverty, on less than one dollar per day. Many of those people could benefit dramatically from the services that credit unions offer, but there are unique challenges in developing credit unions to serve people at this level of poverty.

World Council and CCA will collaborate with UCSCU to help ten Ugandan SACCOs, with a combined membership of over 17,000, to improve their technical capacity, financial stability and political independence. Under the guidance and supervision of UCSCU, the ten SACCOS will work to build safe and sound institutions. By agreeing to UCSCU supervision, the SACCOs will also benefit from the project's branding and marketing assistance, and members and potential members will have the security of knowing that their SACCOs are monitored using international standards.

Both CCA and World Council will conduct workshops and training for SACCO board members and employees. The resident CCA representative will handle in-country supervision of the project, and UCSCU will set up an independent department to supervise the participating SACCOs. The project will also involve training on advocacy practices and lobbying for appropriate SACCO legislation.

CCA is the national association for more than seven million cooperative and credit union members from 3,000 cooperative organizations. CCA began collaborating with UCSCU in 1988 through a Women's Revolving Loan Fund project, which helped women in cooperatives access credit and management training to run their businesses. The project was funded by the Canadian International Development Agency. CCA is currently working in 22 countries worldwide.

World Council's former Uganda project, funded by the United States Agency for International Development, strengthened 14 SACCOs in the central part of the country.

For more information on supporting the SACCO Voluntary Supervision Project in Uganda, contact Valerie Breunig, vbreunig@woccu.o rg or 608-231-7353.

World Council of Credit Unions is the global trade association and development agency for credit unions. World Council promotes the sustainable development of credit unions and other financial cooperatives around the world to empower people through access to high quality and affordable financial services. World Council advocates on behalf of the global credit union system before international organizations and works with national governments to improve legislation and regulation. Its technical assistance programs introduce new tools and technologies to strengthen credit unions' financial performance and increase their outreach.

World Council has implemented 300+ technical assistance programs in 89 countries. Worldwide, 68,882 credit unions in 109 countries serve 235 million people. Learn more about World Council's impact around the world at

Phone: (608) 395-2000