Madison, WI—World Council of Credit Unions, Inc. (WOCCU) expanded the scope and funding of its microfinance projects in 2006 with a record $34.4 million in signed contracts and $2.1 million in contributions to World Council's Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions.
"The real celebration is about how those figures translate into tangible impact," emphasized World Council CEO Pete Crear. "Through monetization of a wheat donation, farmers in Kenya will gain training in agricultural business development; our first-ever project in Peru assists rural credit union members in developing market relationships; and Uzbekistan credit unions are now leasing agricultural equipment to its members, just to name a few innovative ways credit unions are empowering people worldwide."
New funding sources for long-term projects included the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Kenya's Financial Sector Deepening (FSD) Trust. The Gates Foundation recognized World Council's work in alleviating poverty through microfinance with a grant to develop tools and a methodology to sustainedly serve more people living in poverty. World Council's first long- term grant from the FSD Trust led to the creation of a three-year training program for technical service providers to SACCOs (credit unions) in Kenya. The training will help providers better equip SACCOs to meet required registration and licensing standards.
With a record number of contributions to World Council's Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions in 2006, World Council was also able to extend its reach to places where it sees the greatest need for poverty alleviation. In cooperation with the Canadian Cooperative Association and the Credit Union Foundation of Australia, Supporter money helped fund a new project in Uganda and an upcoming project in Cambodia.
"While credit union membership dues benefit World Council's work in advocacy, governance and conferences, it is through WOCCU Supporter program gifts that credit unions directly connect with World Council's international credit union development field work," said Valerie Breunig, Worldwide Foundation Manager.
For more information on World Council's work, please read our 2006 annual report or visit us online at www.woccu.org. The newly redesigned Worldwide Foundation website also includes information on the use of funds, a list of current Supporters and an online donation form.
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.