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International Development Foundation

ILCU-Foundation-Logo-Full-Colour.pngThe ILCU International Development Foundation (Foundation), is the international development arm of the Irish credit union movement. The Foundation is a registered charity


In 1980 Irish credit unions pooled their resources together to establish the Foundation which would allow them provide support to low-income developing countries as a means to addressing poverty. In 1989 the Foundation was formally registered and received its charitable status. Building on the success of the Irish credit union movement, the Foundation works with credit union movements internationally to achieve a collective aim - financial inclusion for people and communities everywhere.

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


What we do

Across the globe there are over 1.7 billion people that are have no access to formal financial services – women and the rural poor generally being the most affected. This means they have no means to securely save their money, no access to borrow money at low-interest rates, no financial education and as a result, are at risk of becoming indebted to high-interest money lenders.

Working closely with dedicated local partners and credit union movements in the developing countries of Ethiopia, Sierra Leone and The Gambia, the Foundation assists in building an equitable financial environment for all by providing access to education and affordable, ethical saving and loan products. Our work is largely supporting the education and training of staff and volunteers at the grassroots credit unions, and also at the national apex level. In addition we support credit union members to improve their understanding of their finances through financial literacy training. Our work is all about people helping people and ensures cooperation amongst cooperatives and it embodies the philosophy, principles and ethos of the credit union movement.

We believe that credit unions are a model for socio-economic and human development.

The credit union movement transformed the landscape on the island of Ireland. 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 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 developing countries, to build financial inclusion.

We are supported by annual donations from credit unions, whose generosity allows us to share the Irish credit union expertise to help others develop their respective credit union movements.

We are people helping people.

CU Challenge

Are you ready for a challenge? The Foundation, in conjunction with the League, are hosting the first-ever CU Challenge, and we want credit union staff and volunteers to get involved. From the 11th - 20th October we are asking staff and volunteers from credit unions to 'Step Up' for Sierra Leone and together we will walk/run 10 million steps in 10 days.

To register, learn more about the event and read the FAQs visit our website: www.ilcufoundation.ie/stepup
Get ready to 'Step Up'!


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 International Development Foundation is a registered charity and is regulated by the Irish Charities Regulatory Authority - charity number 20024314