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ILCU Foundation

ILCU FoundationThe ILCU International Development Foundation Limited (ILCU Foundation) is the charitable arm of the Irish credit union movement. Our mission 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.

What do we do?

Since the 1980s the ILCU Foundation has been providing financial and technical support to build and develop strong, sustainable and secure credit union movements in low-income and developing countries.  We believe that credit unions can be at the forefront to fight poverty and financial exclusion.  Across the globe there are over 1.7 billion people that are have no access to formal financial services – women and the rural poor are generally the most affected.  Having access to a credit union allows individuals to save and borrow money, this in turn improves their livelihoods, benefits their family and helps the community to prosper economically.  By sharing the experience and knowledge from the Irish credit union movement, we are working to provide support to develop and strengthen credit union movements in some of the poorest countries in the world. 

Watch the video below to learn more about our work in Sierra Leone. 


Why do we do it?

Our work is all about people helping people and cooperation amongst cooperatives – one of the credit union principles.  The credit union movement transformed the landscape on the island of Ireland.  It provided financial access to savings and loans for people who previously were underserved or denied because of their low incomes.  Both the American and Canadian credit union movements provided support and advice to the pioneers who established the Irish credit union movement in the late 1950s.  Therefore the ILCU Foundation are replicating this and giving back to help others.  We are sharing the success of the Irish credit union movement with credit union movements in low-income and developing countries, to empower and educate people and help them escape poverty. 

Where do we work?

The ILCU Foundation works directly with credit union movements in Ethiopia, Sierra Leone and The Gambia.  Our work focuses on working with the national body for credit unions and directly with the grassroots credit unions.  The ILCU Foundation provides training to staff and Board Directors on various credit union topics including governance, financial management and accounting.  Furthermore our support helps credit union members to improve their understanding of their finances through financial literacy training.  We provide technical assistance to a number of credit union movements in Eastern Europe including Albania and Russia as they strive to build strong, sustainable and secure movements.  We also host delegations from across the globe who come to Ireland to learn more about the Irish credit union movement in an effort to strengthen their own movements.

How are we funded?

The ILCU Foundation is primarily funded by annual voluntary contributions from credit unions and their members’, and it is regarded as a mechanism for Irish credit unions to fulfil the ‘co-operation amongst co-operative’s’ principle in an international context.  We also receive funding from external donors including Irish Aid and IFAD to carry out our work.

To find out more go to www.ilcufoundation.ie  | email us at foundation@creditunion.ie | like us on facebook | follow us on twitter @ilcufoundation

The ILCU Foundation is a registered charity and is regulated by the Irish Charities Regulatory Authority.