World Council Provides Flooding Relief Efforts in Malawi
$25,000 contributed to local credit union rebuilding
February 19, 2015
Water damage forced Nsanje Community SACCO to relocate from their head office .
MADISON, Wis. — World Council has begun working with its member organization, Malawi Union Savings and Credit Cooperatives (MUSCCO), to provide disaster relief to credit unions affected by Malawi's record-breaking floods that began in early January.
Fifteen districts in Malawi were declared ‘disaster areas' after heavy flooding destroyed crops, livestock and property on January 6–13. BBC reported an entire month's rainfall in less than 24 hours, after a week of nonstop rain.
World Council and MUSCCO have directed support to a local credit union, Nsanje Community Savings and Credit Co-operative (SACCO), on the southernmost tip of Malawi that was hit particularly hard. The area had 80,000 people living in 22 designated camps, and reported the floods completely destroyed an entire village.
World Council contributed $25,000 from their disaster relief fund to support Nsanje Community SACCO's rebuilding efforts. This financial support will help cover the SACCO's increased demand for loans and allow for loan repayment deferrals, as local families and farmers strive to rebuild their livelihoods.
"The rains have just begun in Malawi and are expected to carry on through March," said Brian Branch, World Council president and CEO. "World Council's contribution will help Nsanje Community SACCO get back on their feet and serve their members during this time of need."
Of Nsanje Community SACCO's 5,000 members, 189 reported losing their homes, property or fields. One member and child were swept away by the floods.
"Ninety three percent of Nsanje Community SACCO's membership is small scale farmers who have no other source of income apart from agriculture," said Ethel Atupele Bvalani, MUSCCO risk management officer. "The floods have washed away their crops, food and livestock. The year ahead looks to be tough and Nsanje SACCO will be challenged to bear the burden in the community."
Nsanje Community SACCO staff wade through flood water that displaced documents and furniture from the SACCO building.
Flooding forced Nsanje Community SACCO out of their head office in Bangula. MUSCCO's recent assessment deemed mold a health risk to employees, electrical rewiring a requirement, and the entire building at risk of collapse. The SACCO is unsure whether or not repairs are a worthwhile investment, given the likelihood of future flooding in the area. They currently rent office space and operate out of the Malawi Broadcasting Company.
Prior to the disaster, Nsanje Community SACCO was one of only two financial institutions offering financial services in Bangula—the other was a bank. Surrounding area farmers have depended on their SACCO's success for access to financial services. Sixty three percent of Nsanje Community SACCO's members live in low-lying villages, which are susceptible to further flooding as Malawi's rainy season continues.
World Council has led relief efforts for past international disasters, including the 2013 Philippine typhoon, 2010 Haitian earthquake, 2006 Philippine Islands landslide and 2004 South Asian tsunami.
To support the international credit union disaster relief fund, visit www.woccu.org/give or send payments via check, credit card or wire to:
Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions, Inc., 5710 Mineral Point Road, Madison, WI 53705, USA
For additional information, contact Calyn Ostrowski, Executive Director, Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions, at +1-608-395-2056 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
World Council of Credit Unions is the global trade association and development platform 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 300+ technical assistance programs in 89 countries. Worldwide, 89,026 credit unions in 117 countries serve 260 million people. Learn more about World Council's impact around the world at www.woccu.org.