Credit Unions – People Helping People

Madeleine McCarthy St. Francis Credit Union Chairperson was delighted to meet with an international delegation from credit union movements in Ethiopia, Malawi, Moldova, Sierra Leone, Ukraine and Zimbabwe. The credit union delegation were in Ireland to attend the fifth International Partners Conference ‘Strengthening Financial Inclusion for All’.  The event in the South Court Hotel, Raheen, was hosted by the Irish League of Credit Unions International Development Foundation (ILCU Foundation), the international arm of the Irish credit union movement who are celebrating 30 years this year.

The ILCU Foundation provides financial and technical support to develop strong and sustainable credit unions by sharing the knowledge and expertise in the Irish credit union movement.  The representatives from the various credit union movements in Africa and Eastern Europe were able to share their experiences of credit union development in their countries and were delighted meet with representatives from credit unions to learn from the experience of the Irish credit union movement.  The Irish credit union movement is a renowned around the world, and other countries look to Ireland as they seek to develop and strengthen their own respective movements.

Lilian Songa, Chair of the National Association of Cooperatives and Credit Unions in Sierra Leone expressed her thanks to the Irish credit union movement noting that “credit unions in Sierra Leone are making a real difference, we are small but we are grown and they are helping people especially the women and people in rural communities to improve their livelihoods and be financially included. Thanks you to the Irish credit unions for your support to help develop other credit unions”.

Sinéad Lynam, Engagement Officer, ILCU Foundation, spoke of how “the delegation are all involved in building strong credit unions to provide people with access to secure savings and affordable loans and enable their members to become self-sufficient.  We would like to thank credit unions for their support of our work.  The credit union is the same the world over, it is about people helping people.”