10 U.S. Credit Union Peers Participate in Credit Union Immersion Journey Across Peru and Ecuador

USAID/WOCCU Economic Inclusion Project (EIP) hosts June study tour

June 28, 2024

MADISON, Wis.—The USAID/World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) Economic Inclusion Program (EIP), in partnership with the Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions (WFCU), this month hosted 10 representatives from the United States credit union system for a two-week study tour to experience firsthand how EIP connects Venezuelan migrants in Ecuador and Peru to financial inclusion through credit unions. 

Funded by USAID and implemented by WOCCU, the EIP program is an ambitious and innovative approach aimed at providing economic opportunities and financial services to assist both Venezuelan migrants and refugees and their host communities in the target cities of Lima, Peru, and Quito and Guayaquil, Ecuador, and several rural areas of each country as well. 

During the first week of the study tour, one U.S. representative from Virginia Credit Union (VACU) connected with Peru’s EIP program and visited the Peruvian credit union system through meetings with the National Federation of Credit Unions (FENACREP), regulators, and EIP partners. In Peru, the VACU representative learned that credit unions can provide services in rural areas by establishing rural and mobile agents. 

“Members of credit cooperatives go from being independent people to being agents of political change. This makes credit unions achieve financial inclusion,” said Juan Carlos Urgiles, General Manager of Jardin Azuayo, a credit cooperative based in Paute, Ecuador. 

During the second week of the study tour, ten Americans toured Ecuador, meeting with several national organizations, including the Financial Policy and Regulation Board and the Superintendence of the Popular and Solidary Economy, for an engaging learning experience.  

Through an open dialogue, participants learned how EIP expands financial inclusion, implements innovation and serves migrant populations through financial education, employment and entrepreneurship training and gender-based inclusion. 

“Victims of gender violence can only achieve economic independence by receiving psychological stability, linked to an economic stability plan known as “plan de vida” and financial services,” said Oscar Guzman, Chief of Party for EIP. “This plan guides them to leave the circle of violence and achieve economic autonomy through livelihood activities (entrepreneurship and employment)." 

The Ecuador and Peru Study Tour was made possible through a generous sponsorship from Virginia Credit Union

The collaborative study tour is an effort of Global Bridges, an engagement initiative of WFCU and WOCCU that connects networks across both entities to advance solutions to shared global challenges in the global credit union industry. 

The Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions, as the strategic partner of the World Council, bridges gaps impacting credit unions' ability to grow and advance financial inclusion worldwide. Our commitment to provide global credit union journeys augments our shared vision with World Council's of realizing a vibrant and growing global credit union movement. Worldwide Foundation's philanthropy advances World Council's technical capacity to strengthen credit union systems that advance financial inclusion to underserved communities.

Author Photo
Contact: Rachel Miller
Organization: World Council of Credit Unions
Phone: 608-395-2036
Group picture of the EIP study tour participants in Ecuador
Group picture of the EIP study tour participants in Ecuador
Vystar participants exchanging gifts with the study tour host
Vystar participants exchanging gifts with the study tour host
Virginia Credit Union participant adding to the EIP photo wall
Virginia Credit Union participant adding to the EIP photo wall

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