World Council Joins Kilimanjaro Initiative to Benefit At-Risk Youth in East Africa
Madison, WI—World Council of Credit
Unions, Inc., has joined forces with United
Nations Federal Credit Union (UNFCU) to further
assist youth in East Africa. World Council will
specifically lend its support to the UNFCU-
affiliated Kilimanjaro Initiative.
As part of the Initiative, a group of thirty-
five people from around the world will ascend
Mt. Kilimanjaro—the largest free-standing
mountain in the world (19,342 feet)—on
February 24. The climb will benefit at-risk
youth in Kibera, Africa's largest slum, with
community development projects including
establishing self-sustaining job training
programs and small businesses, counseling
services, crime-free zones and safe-guarding
neighborhoods and using sport as a means for
development and peace.
Tim Challen, a Member Service Representative
from United Nations Federal Credit Union
(UNFCU), will lead the second annual, five-day
Kilimanjaro Initiative Climb in Tanzania. The
climb aims to empower young people to become
agents of change in society and to bring
attention to Kilimanjaro Initiative's youth-
based projects. The 2007 climb will
specifically fund urban safety projects in East
Africa, which are supported by UN-HABITAT.
Joining Challen on the climb will be youth
around the world, United Nations, as well as UN
specialized agency staff, UNFCU management and
staff, as well as public and private sector
representatives. Credit Union Central of
Canada's Jeff Healy, sponsored by World Council,
will also be
participating. Healy is a marketing manager at
Teachers Plus Credit Union in Bedford, Nova
Scotia, Canada and has been with the Canadian
credit union system for three years.
"We're proud to help bring awareness to a
program that unites communities and uses
cooperative principles to empower our future
leaders," said Pete Crear, World Council CEO.
Challen, who works in the UNFCU Geneva
Representative Office, founded the Kilimanjaro
Initiative in 2005, two years after he was
injured in an armed robbery while working in
Nairobi, Kenya. He had planned to climb Mt.
Kilimanjaro before his injury, so the
Kilimanjaro Initiative Climb grew out of his
realization that it would be a symbolic
opportunity to raise global awareness on urban
safety and collect funds for cooperative
"In hand with the community, we are setting
about physical, economic and social development
in a durable way," Challen explained.
Last year, 25 climbers from the Kilimanjaro
Initiative reached the "rooftop of Africa." UN-
HABITAT selected the youth who received training
as part of an Outward Bound program funded by
UNFCU. The young people learned to overcome
difficulty through perseverance, teamwork and
understanding one's environment.
"In taking up Tim's cause, we are realizing
credit union spirit of 'People Helping People'
and furthering our commitment to the UN and UN
agency communities in East Africa," said UNFCU
president and CEO, Michael J. Connery, Jr., who
reached the summit as part of the 2006
Kilimanjaro Initiative with 24 fellow
climbers. "We also look forward to building
upon our relationship and forging new programs
with World Council in the region."
For more information on the climb, visit www.kilimanjaroinitiative.org
Chartered in 1947, New York-based United
Nations Federal Credit Union (UNFCU) provides
products and financial solutions to members in
over 210 countries and territories. UNFCU has
Representative Offices in Geneva, Switzerland,
Vienna, Austria, Rome, Italy and Nairobi,
Contact Person: Elisabeth Philippe
Phone Number: (347) 686-6776
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.