WOCCU Project Helps Ecuadorian Women Improve Lives
Over 11,500 resource-poor women are
in solidarity savings and loan groups in Ecuador
through four local credit unions. For many women
these solidarity groups are offering their first
opportunity to open savings accounts and apply
for loans. These women are using their new
resources to improve their lives, the lives of
their families and their communities through a
variety of micro-businesses.
For the past three years, World Council of
Unions, Inc. (WOCCU) has been introducing savings
and credit education programs to credit unions in
Ecuador through a project funded by the
Consultative Group to Assist the Poorest (CGAP)
of the World Bank. WOCCU has also worked with
Freedom From Hunger on outreach with this
project. In conjunction with WOCCU's
board meetings in Quito, Ecuador, board members
had the opportunity to visit these credit unions
and witness the impact of WOCCU's activities on
the lives of Ecuadorians.
The board members participated in a graduation
ceremony in the town of Latacunga, observing
women graduating from being members of a
solidarity group with membership in the credit
unions to direct individual members of the credit
union. Prior to participation in the solidarity
groups, none of the women had the minimal
financial resources to become direct members of
the credit unions. Due to their income
generation activities in the solidarity groups,
this group of 10 of the 20 previously ineligible
women became members.
L.R. (Bobby) McVeigh, WOCCU board chairman speaks to a credit union member about the products and services she uses from her credit union.
In the small town of El Quinche, only a few
from the equator, WOCCU board members observed a
regular weekly meeting of one of the solidarity
groups. Following the group's discussion on self-
empowerment, each member repaid her loan. One of
the women in the group, Margarita Tipan, operates
two food stands seven days a week. The mother of
seven and grandmother of four has used her US$300
loan from the solidarity group to buy two pigs.
One of her stands sells fried pork outside the
town's church on Sundays and she has found the
cost of purchasing of pork outweighs her profits.
She now is able to increase her profit by raising
and butchering the animals herself. Margarita
now has US$16.88 in savings and is looking
forward to being able to becoming a full member
of credit union.
"First-hand knowledge of the impact of WOCCU's
work in Ecuador is a reminder of the
transformative power of credit unions," indicated
Bobby McVeigh, chairman of the board of
WOCCU. "Witnessing the pride of these women as
they became individual members of the credit
union is something I will never forget."
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.