We hope you are continuing to keep safe and well.
Despite the challenges we all faced last year, I would like to thank everyone who continued to support us. In 2020 Irish Credit Unions donated over €525,000 to support the Foundation's work. We are extremely grateful for the continued support and we hope it continues. In addition, over €5,000 was raised through online fundraisers. Last year we supported a total of 426 Credit Unions 176,694 credit union members (of which 43% are female members).
Some highlights from the year include:
- We supported NaCCUA, apex body in Sierra Leone, to provide technical assistance to credit unions in the area of liquidity management, loan management and HR.
- We supported the Credit Unions in Sierra Leone to respond to the threat of COVID-19 by distributing masks and sanitation kits for credit unions and members nationwide.
- A pilot project was undertaken to oralise passbooks for GMF members in rural communities to address their low levels of financial literacy.
- A second regional apex organisation for credit unions was established in the region of Amhara, Ethiopia.
- A deep dive research project examining mobile money and digital financial services resulted in a pilot project in remote rural credit unions in a southern region of Ethiopia.
- We signed a memorandum of understanding with both NACCUG in The Gambia and ACCOSCA, which sets out our support to both organisations in the short to medium term.
- A core Credit Union Curriculum was developed for Sierra Leone and Ethiopia. The curriculum covers a number of key areas that all staff and volunteers must undertake as part of their training.
For the year ahead we will continue to remotely support our local partners and assist in the development of credit union movements, to provide communities with access to affordable and ethical financial services. We hope to resume our volunteer programmes when it is safe to do so, but in the meantime we will continue to adapt how we can best support our partners.