World Council Joins Kilimanjaro Initiative to Benefit At-Risk Youth in East Africa

February 05, 2007

Phone: (608) 395-2000

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 from 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 projects.

"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 the 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 .

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, Kenya.

Contact Person: Elisabeth Philippe
Organization: UNFCU
Phone Number: (347) 686-6776
E-mail: ephilippe@unfcu .com

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 300+ technical assistance programs in 89 countries. Worldwide, 68,882 credit unions in 109 countries serve 235 million people. Learn more about World Council's impact around the world at