The ILCU Foundation supports the development of credit unions and their representative organisations, as democratic, member-owned organisations which empower people for their individual and collective benefit.
The ILCU Foundation was established in 1980 and has NGO (Non-Governmental Organisation) status. The main goal of the ILCU Foundation is the alleviation of poverty in developing countries, through the provision of financial and technical assistance to credit union movements. They currently work with credit union movements in Africa and Eastern Europe.
Most people in the developing world; that is most people in the world, have no access to savings and credit facilities, which can help them make decision to lift them out of poverty, increase their incomes, build their assets and improve their lives.
Credit unions don't just offer fair and affordable financial services, because they are run for and by their members, they provide an opportunity for education and skills development.
History and Purpose
The mission of the ILCU Foundation is to alleviate poverty in developing countries by supporting credit unions, their representative bodies and other co-operative type organisations as a means for socio-economic development through the provision of financial and technical assistance.
Irish credit unions have been contributing to the work of the ILCU Foundation since 1980, when at the ILCU Annual General Meeting (AGM) it was decided that credit unions should be invited to contribute towards a fund to be administered by the ILCU "to provide aid, financial or otherwise, to developing countries with particular emphasis on credit union and other co-operative projects". In 1983 the ILCU AGM agreed that contributions to the fund should be at the discretion of each credit union and they were again encouraged to support the fund.
In order to become eligible for funding from the European Union (EU), the ILCU International Development Foundation Limited was formally incorporated as a company limited by guarantee and not having a share capital on 20 April 1989.
The process of establishing the ILCU Foundation as a recognised NGO was then pursued. This status was recognised with the receipt of funding from the Irish Government and the acceptance by the EU of the application for co-funding. The Foundation also has charitable status, the registered charity number is CHY 9704.
The main source of funding is from contributions made by credit unions in Ireland and by co-funding arrangements with donor agencies.
The ILCU Foundation works through long-term integrated programmes with developing credit union movements in selected countries in Africa and Eastern Europe. The current partners include Albania, The Gambia, Russia, Sri Lanka, Ethiopia and The Carribean. The ILCU Foundation has been working with these partners for at least 5 years and in some cases 10 years.
A small proportion of the budget is set aside to support a limited number of once-off projects, which are consistent with the basic objectives of the Foundation. Over the last 3 years the Foundation has funded between 6 to 10 of these projects annually. There have been a wide range of projects supported from HIV/AIDS projects in Brazil and Malawi to the building of homes and schools in Kenya and South Africa