The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently granted WOCCU 26,610 metric tons of wheat, equivalent to approximately US$4.6 million, to fund a four-year credit union development project in Kenya. Proceeds originating from the sale of wheat in Kenya will be used to fund programs that support sustainable rural and agricultural economic growth in the face of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
"This USDA project is a new model for WOCCU to pursue development through credit unions," Curtis Slover, WOCCU business development and technical services senior manager, said. "This is an integrated community development program driven through credit union development."
While many aid organizations focus on HIV/AIDS prevention, WOCCU's "Credit Union Modernization Program" will target households and communities already suffering from the effects of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, which is greatly impacting human resources, loan delinquencies and credit risk in Kenyan savings and credit cooperatives (SACCOs). Through the USDA funding, WOCCU will provide technical and financial assistance to two of the largest SACCOs in Kenya.
Project staff will assist the SACCOs in addressing the financial impact of HIV/AIDS at the credit union level and introduce and develop new products and services. WOCCU will help create individual educational development accounts— educational grants deposited into a child's savings account—to help families impacted by HIV/AIDS finance their dependents' education. Additionally, farmers will have access to agricultural and agribusiness loans as well as agricultural training to help build and support rural infrastructure.
WOCCU is currently implementing a program in Kenya to help the government develop regulatory and supervisory legislation for SACCOs and is also setting up an office in Nairobi to bring remittance services to Kenyan SACCOs.
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.