Ballinasloe Credit Union Ltd. was delighted to host a delegation of credit union leaders from East Africa on Tuesday 29h May. The delegation, representing credit union movements in Kenya, Malawi and Tanzania, discussed best practice in day-to-day credit union operations, including marketing, governance and cooperation.
The delegation’s visit to Ireland was organised and hosted by the Irish League of Credit Unions International Development Foundation (ILCU Foundation), the charitable arm of the Irish credit union movement. The week-long study tour is taking place in partnership with the African Confederation of Cooperatives Savings and Credit Association. The visit incorporates a mix of workshops, training sessions and field visits to credit unions. During the visit to Ballinasloe credit union the staff shared experiences, information and guidance with the delegation. The discussions were very informative and the delegation now hopes to implement a lot of what they learned in their own credit unions.
The Irish credit union movement is one of the most popular credit union movements in the world, and other countries, especially those in the developing world, look to Ireland as they develop and strengthen their own respective movements.
Ausman Khatolwa, Director of Stima Credit Union, Kenya said the delegation was very grateful to Shane and Ballinasloe Credit Union. “We have learned a lot from the credit union so far in Ireland. There are lots of similarities with our movement in Kenya, but we have many challenges, so we appreciate the
opportunity to hear about the Irish credit union movement. The credit union is very important and they do fantastic work to support the community. I really admire how Ballinasloe and the neighbouring credit unions have a joint marketing strategy – this is true cooperation amongst cooperatives.”
Conor Dolan, Project Officer with the ILCU Foundation thanked Ballinasloe Credit Union for hosting the delegation and their hospitality. “These visits are a fantastic opportunity for the delegation to see and hear first-hand how a successful credit union operates. The Irish credit union movement is renowned the world over and this visit to Ballinasloe allowed the delegation to understand how credit unions are embedded within the community. This study visit is a valuable tool in knowledge sharing and it will allow the participants to identify strengths of credit unions in Ireland that can be used to further strengthen their own respective movements, all in accordance with the cooperative principles. On behalf of the ILCU Foundation I would like to express my sincere thanks to Ballinasloe credit union for hosting the delegation and for their continuous support of our work overseas.”
About the ILCU Foundation
The ILCU Foundation was set up in 1980 out of a responsibility to share the success of the Irish credit union movement with similar movements in the developing world. This mirrors the setting up of the Irish credit union movement when Nora Herlihy went to America to get help and support as
she and others went about developing credit unions in Ireland over 60 years ago. The aim 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”. The ILCU Foundation is a registered charity and all administrative costs are met by the ILCU. Therefore all contributions go directly towards supporting the various projects.
For over 30 years Irish credit unions and their members have contributed to the ILCU Foundation in support of strengthening credit union movements in developing and low-income countries. In Ireland we know the value of the credit union and how it has helped - and continues to help - members, families and local communities throughout the country. The support provided to credit union movements in our partner countries includes: training and up-skilling credit union volunteers, directors and staff; improving the level and quality of services that credit unions provide to their members; developing and strengthening the partner country’s representative and support bodies and assisting these credit union movements to become self-sustainable.
The work of the ILCU Foundation in helping individuals to access financial services which in turn improves their livelihoods and benefits their families and indeed entire communities. Our work is a credit to the many credit unions and their members who support us.
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