|Experts estimate that Haiti's earthquake has left more than one million people homeless.|
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — Food and water – and later bricks and mortar – will be purchased with funds donated to the WOCCU Haitian Disaster Relief Fund.
World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) has begun a preliminary assessment of the devastation caused by the earthquake and its impact on WOCCU's program in Haiti and the credit unions the program serves. The evaluation will be managed by Dave Richardson, the WOCCU senior manager who oversees the Haiti program, and Greta Greathouse, the program's chief of party who manages operations on the ground in Haiti.
Richardson and Brian Branch, WOCCU executive vice president and COO, entered Haiti Tuesday to deliver much needed supplies for the program's 16 staff. WOCCU's team is in contact with field workers from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), which financed WOCCU's three-year Haiti program that launched in July, to assess the situation and address immediate staff needs.
"Our first thought in disaster situations is to stabilize our staff and provide them with the basics of food, water, clothing and a place to sleep," Richardson said. "Our second step is to help the public with general relief, and we have chosen to work with Food for the Poor based on the quick and efficient response they have demonstrated in disaster situations.
"Our third step," Richardson added "is to find a temporary work space to replace our devastated building. We will be working on that this week."
Many of WOCCU's past recovery efforts have focused on rebuilding credit unions that have been destroyed in disasters. The approach not only assists credit unions with their losses, but enables the credit unions, in turn, to help their members and the communities in which they live rebound.
"Once WOCCU is able to assess all credit union damage, we will begin a formal rebuilding program to get credit unions back on their feet and assist them in helping as many members as possible," Richardson said. Those efforts will include providing assistance to rebuild credit unions as necessary, training credit union staff to implement emergency loan programs and helping them implement crisis management strategies."
Richardson has been with WOCCU since 1987 and currently manages the WOCCU programs in Haiti and the Philippines. Richardson also was responsible in helping develop the PEARLS business management software system used by various WOCCU programs.
To support WOCCU's relief efforts on behalf of Haiti's credit unions and their members, make payments via check, credit card or wire to:
Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions, Inc., 5710 Mineral Point Road, Madison, WI 53705, USA
Donations may be made online with a credit card at www.woccu.org /give. For wire transfer information, contact: Valerie Breunig, Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions, 608-395-2055 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Please indicate that your donation is for the Haiti Disaster Relief Fund.
U.S. credit unions can also support WOCCU's relief efforts by donating through the National Credit Union Foundation's CUAid system at www.CUAid.coop.
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 105 countries serve 217 million people. Learn more about World Council's impact around the world at www.woccu.org.