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July 05, 2005


Senate Committee Nods Approval for Increased Funding for Key CU Development Program

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Washington, D.C. - Before adjourning for the Fourth of July recess, the Senate Appropriations Committee gave a major funding boost to a program of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) that supports international economic development through eight U.S.-based cooperative development organizations, including World Council of Credit Unions, Inc. (WOCCU).

Acting on the appropriations bill passed by the Foreign Operations Subcommittee, the full Senate Appropriations Committee approved funding for the Cooperative Development Program (CDP) at the level of $10 million. The appropriation still requires approval on the Senate floor, as well as to make it through the House and Senate conference intact.

Until now, the CDP has been funded at the discretion of USAID. Congress has shown support for the program in the past by requesting that USAID adequately fund CDP; their most recent show of support was a bi-partisan letter to the USAID administrator requesting a funding level of $8 million for fiscal year 2004. The program received less than $5 million in 2004.

WOCCU's current CDP is a $3.7 million award that began in 2004 and will continue through 2009. With the CDP, WOCCU is able to "refine approaches and develop methodologies to support global credit union development. Through the Cooperative Development Program, we are supporting the establishment of credit unions from the ground up in Afghanistan, training credit union volunteers in Ecuador, and adapting credit union products to the HIV/AIDS environment in Kenya - but CDP is bigger than even those significant activities. CDP allows WOCCU to continue to provide credit union movements around the world with innovative tools to improve the lives of their members," said WOCCU governmental affairs manager Molly Schar.

WOCCU worked closely with CUNA and a number of state credit union leagues to activate grassroots support for the earmark. "Members of Congress hearing from their own constituents how important this program is to international credit union development - how important it is to improving the lives of people in developing countries through the credit union difference - helped us make this great stride toward achieving increased funding for USAID's Cooperative Development Program," said Schar.

Schar and CUNA's Katie Herberger co-chair the legislative committee of the Overseas Cooperative Development Council, a coalition of the eight cooperative development organizations - Americas Association of Cooperative and Mutual Insurance Societies, ACDI/VOCA, CHF International, Land O'Lakes, NRECA International, Ltd., National Telecommunications Cooperative Association and WOCCU - that receive funding through the CDP.



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 more than 290 technical assistance programs in 71 countries. Worldwide, 57,000 credit unions in 103 countries serve 208 million people. Learn more about World Council's impact around the world at www.woccu.org.

 



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