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February 10, 2005


Sri Lanka Credit Unions Begin Rebuilding Effort

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Madison, WI—Just two months after Sri Lanka suffered a devastating tsunami, credit union reconstruction is already underway thanks to the generous support of credit unions around the world. To date nearly $600,000 has been raised through the efforts of the World Council of Credit Unions' Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions and the National Credit Union Foundation. Funds raised by these groups will be dispersed in accordance with a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) recently signed by the Credit Cooperative Societies Sri Lanka (SANASA) and Worldwide Foundation.

Using a damage assessment form created by WOCCU, SANASA began to evaluate damage and prioritize reconstruction in January. Five of the 10 affected districts have been assessed and preliminary reports indicate that 154 societies were completely destroyed. An assessment of societies that were damaged but not completely destroyed is still underway.

To aid reconstruction efforts SANASA created an architectural plan—estimated at roughly $14,000—and determined the quantities and costs of basic items such as furniture, accounting books and office supplies needed to reopen the primary societies.

According to the current plan, societies will be rebuilt in groups of 10-20, and it will take two to three months to rebuild each group. WOCCU estimates that the entire rebuilding process will take roughly two years, though a shortage of building materials is likely to slow construction. Reconstruction started with the signing of the MOU, and first quarter efforts will help to determine the accuracy of estimated costs and timelines.

Brian Branch, WOCCU president and CEO (Interim) shared, "World Council is proud of the generous support credit unions around the world have supplied to a member movement in need. Because of this support the credit union system in Sri Lanka will be rebuilt and will play an crucial role in rebuilding the country's economy." The MOU calls for Worldwide Foundation to disperse funds quarterly to SANASA recommend societies for rebuilding. SANASA will make its recommendations at the beginning of each quarter and provide reports and before/after pictures at the end of each quarter. The World Council of Credit Unions will provide on-location monitoring twice a year and has already identified local resources for this role.

For more information on the Tsunami Disaster Relief efforts visit World Council's website at www.woccu.org.



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, 56,000 credit unions in 101 countries serve 200 million people. Learn more about World Council's impact around the world at www.woccu.org.

 



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