The ILCU Foundation’s Volunteer Coaching Programme, has four volunteers traveling to Sierra Leone, the first since 2020. We’re proud to have a member of staff Mary Peters, Chief Services Officer HSSCU, part of the volunteer team heading over. Mary will be bringing a wealth of knowledge and expertise with her to assist with credit union development in Sierra Leone. Mary had the following to say before her trip
“I’m looking forward to the trip. With the experience and knowledge developed over the years, I hope that some of this can be passed on during my time volunteering. It will also be a great experience learning from the people in Sierra Leone about their country and credit unions.
While it’s a very different setting from HSSCU, the credit union ethos remains the same and along with putting people at the front of all we do. A credit union’s ability to assist in financially empowering people is a very important factor and has been witnessed here in Ireland for many years now.
I’m fortunate to be going with a few other credit union people and obviously the foundation staff members so we’ll have great supports in place. Looking forward to getting there now and getting started.”
Mary will be volunteering alongside George Hamilton – Link Credit Union, Ted O’Sullivan – Douglas Credit Union, and Martin Cumiskey – Crossmaglen Credit Union. We look forward to keeping up to date on the ILCU Foundation’s social media as they share their visit with you over the coming weeks. Before leaving for Sierra Leone, Mary had the opportunity to meet with TD Seán Fleming to discuss credit unions and the working being done by the foundation.
We are proud to continually support the work being done by the foundation and last year HSSCU made a donation of €20,000. Through the ILCU Foundation’s work they help people become financially empowered and in turn assist in developing the local communities where they operate.
Mary will also be bringing a number of items that can be used by credit unions in Sierra Leone after the visit ha finished.
ILCU Foundation Background
There are currently 1.7 billion people in the world without access to any form of financial services. This means they have no means to securely save their money, no access to ethical loans, no financial education and as a result, are at risk of becoming indebted to high-interest loans.
Credit unions are a powerful tool in working towards financial empowerment. The ILCU Foundation supports 193 the number of credit unions in developing countries who have benefitted from support programmes.
Access to basic financial products and services can transform a community. It can unlock opportunities for education, employment, entrepreneurship and can provide a safety net to manage their finances and absorb financial shock in times of crisis.
The Foundation plays an important and key role in educating people and assisting in the development of credit union movements internationally, providing safe and ethical financial solutions for communities and working towards the goal of achieving financial inclusion for all.
Sierra Leone Credit Unions
Over the three-year period, the number of members increased by nearly 100% meaning more people now have access to affordable financial services and products – notably more than 60% of members in Sierra Leone are women.