CUs Help Build Better Lives in Rural Ethiopia

A World Council of Credit Unions program is helping Ethiopia’s farmers.

July 1, 2012

The highlands of northern Ethiopia are an ancient land long overdue for renewal. But the future of this African country, where 85% of its people rely on agriculture for their livelihood, is looking brighter thanks to help from the credit union movement.

A World Council of Credit Unions program, in support of rural savings and credit cooperatives (RUSACCO), is helping Ethiopia’s farmers find new and effective ways to grow crops and raise livestock.

The program is supported with funds raised by the monetization of 23,000 tons of wheat provided by the U.S. Agriculture Department. It encourages improved agricultural practices to increase farm incomes, and it provides affordable loans to farmers.

 It also offers monthly classes in everything from crop rotation to beekeeping, which mix with financial lessons on savings and microbusiness management.

Ethiopia’s RUSACCO program is 50 years old and consists of 8,000 institutions, most of which serve fewer than 100 people. By strengthening the RUSACCOs and the members they serve, the World Council is helping to forge a better future for the people of Ethiopia.