USAID Funds World Council's First Peru Project
The United States Agency for International
Development (USAID) recently awarded World
Council of Credit Unions, Inc. (WOCCU) $1.3
million to implement its three-year "Peru Credit
Union Market Integration Program" in rural Peru.
World Council's first project in Peru aims to
expand credit union outreach to the rural poor
with market-driven financial services and
products, including savings, credit and
remittance products and shared branching. The
program will also facilitate market
relationships between member producers, traders
and merchants through "value chains." WOCCU has
helped forge similar business relationships in
its ongoing Nicaragua project, and the project
in Peru proposes an even larger network.
According to the Peru National Institute of
Statistics and Information, one of every four
Peruvians and more than half of the rural
population live in "extreme poverty." Many rural
poor in Peru are prevented from economic growth
not only because financial services are out of
reach but because they are isolated from
business markets and current market information.
"Increasing the level of income in poor
cannot be isolated to sales; it must be tied to
the market," said Mark Cifuentes, World Council
manager of Latin America, Caribbean and Africa
technical services. "So while it's important for
us to facilitate the process to increase
potential income, we also need to decrease the
risk to individual producers. It's better for us
to work collectively to sell rather than have
individuals seek out their own markets."
World Council selected two credit unions
Peru's national credit union federation,
Federación Nacional de Cooperativas de
Ahorro y Crédito del Perú
(FENACREP), in each of four low-income areas of
the country to participate in the project.
Members of the eight rural credit unions are
heavily involved in rural production and
trading. Shared branching and networking among
these credit unions and merchant-based credit
unions in Lima will help connect members to fair
Luis Jimenez, former director of the WOCCU-
Ecuador CGAP project, will manage the project in
"My hope as project director is to replicate
experiences and successful achievements of World
to the Peruvian environment, adapting and
creating financial products with a social focus
and raising the financial strength of credit
unions," Jimenez said. "In Peru, it's a long
road to travel in repositioning the cooperative
system, which is why the Peru project aims to
plant seeds to establish a foundation for future
efforts and initiatives."
World Council and its member FENACREP will
cost share 20% of the funding for the Peru
project. USAID's Microenterprise Development
office oversees the competitive Implementation
Grant Program (IGP) funding the bulk of WOCCU's
Peru project. USAID administers the United
States foreign assistance program providing
economic and humanitarian assistance in more
than 80 countries worldwide.
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.