World Council of Credit Unions Launches Flagship Project for USAID’s Venezuela Regional Response Program
‘Economic Inclusion Project’ to provide greater opportunities for Venezuelan migrants and vulnerable local residents in Peru, Ecuador
June 22, 2020
MADISON, Wis.—The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has selected World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) to implement the flagship project for its new Venezuela Regional Response Program—an effort to counter the regional impacts of the complex emergency stemming from Venezuela’s economic and political crises.
Launched in June, WOCCU’s three-year Economic Inclusion Project will help Venezuelan migrants and vulnerable local residents in Peru and Ecuador achieve socioeconomic security by gaining greater access to financial products and services, as well as entrepreneurship and employment programs.
As a result of the Economic Inclusion Project, at least:
- 100,000 Venezuelans and locals will obtain access to financial services (a credit, savings or insurance product).
- 10,000 Venezuelans will have an improved capacity to establish a sustainable livelihood.
According to the Regional Inter-Agency Coordination Platform for Refugees and Migrants from Venezuela, more than one million Venezuelans who fled their country’s economic crisis have resettled in Peru or Ecuador. Venezuelan migrants surveyed and cited in a recent United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) report listed ‘financial support’ and ‘money’ as immediate needs. In addition, ‘access to work,’ ‘more work’ or ‘better wages’ were expressed as common needs among the population.
Many of the migrants are highly skilled doctors, nurses and lawyers who fled Venezuela and are seeking to reestablish their professional certifications in their new home countries.
“The Economic Inclusion Project is a great opportunity for WOCCU to build upon its experience in providing access to financial services to migrant and low-income populations in Latin America,” said Megan O’Donnell, WOCCU Vice President of Financial Inclusion. “We’ve successfully delivered services to Venezuelan migrants displaced by political instability and violence in the border region of Colombia. The Economic Inclusion Project in Peru and Ecuador will go even further by not only providing employment and entrepreneurship programs, but also expanding efforts to raise awareness of and prevent gender-based violence in this highly vulnerable population.”
The Economic Inclusion Project team will lean on WOCCU’s trusted network of credit unions, and private-sector and non-governmental organization (NGO) partners to extend financial products and services to the migrant population. Formed a decade ago with support from a USAID-funded WOCCU project, RTC Coonecta is a transaction and technology network that will pilot and scale new financial products and services to vulnerable Venezuelans and Ecuadorians. Federación de Cooperativas de Ahorro y Crédito del Peru (FENACREP) will assist in developing and scaling similar financial products to vulnerable Venezuelans and Peruvians. WOCCU has also secured letters of support from credit unions in Peru and Ecuador committed to developing products and services for Venezuelans and low-income local populations.
To achieve employment and entrepreneurship goals, the Economic Inclusion Project team will partner with HIAS, Inc. to adapt its successful methodology for labor market inclusion and entrepreneurship. This project will also deploy a robust grant program to stimulate seed investment for small businesses and provide larger grants to local non-profits working in job placement and professional recertifications.
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, 85,400 credit unions in 118 countries serve 274 million people. Learn more about World Council's impact around the world at www.woccu.org.