Credit unions in Ukraine needed outside support after the invasion/secession of Crimea and after the conflict spread into Southern and Eastern Ukraine.
When the Ukrainian credit unions asked for help, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the World Council of Credit Unions responded with a four-year, $5 million award to be implemented by a multinational team of credit unions.
World Council and USAID granted this award to the Volunteers for Economic Growth Alliance and the World Council, who partnered to launch the Credit for Agriculture Producers (CAP) Project.
Started in September 2016, the CAP Project draws upon credit union experts and colleagues from the U.S., Poland, Netherlands, and Ireland. The CAP Project’s mission is to provide financial support to some 24,000 agricultural producers in rural Ukraine.
The momentum for improving and strengthening the credit union sector in Ukraine is here, and so is a growing recognition of the importance of the robust credit union sector for the economy, not only for its financial but also its social mission,” says Ewa Sierzynska, World Council’s chief of party for the CAP Project.
At the first quarterly meeting of the CAP Project team in November, members discussed modernizing Ukraine’s credit union law to extend the viability of credit unions there.
Paweł Grzesik of Poland’s National Association of Co-operative Savings and Credit Unions is the senior policy adviser for the group. Grzesik typifies the breadth of expertise of the multinational team.
The CAP Project aims to not only improve the credit union environment in Ukraine, but also serve as a beacon to all such efforts around the globe.
“Credit unions will again show their worth in exercising grassroots democracy, providing services where no one else will serve, and in knitting society together,” says World Council President/CEO Brian Branch.
LEO CARDILLO served as a credit union board director from 1992 to 2016, and is currently a volunteer correspondent for the World Council of Credit Unions.