CUNA wrote to Congressional appropriations leaders Friday in strong support of $50 million in funding for the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Cooperative Development Program for fiscal year 2023. CUNA also requested Congress support USAID’s existing partners in Ukraine, particularly credit unions.
The CDP—a global initiative focusing on building capacity of cooperative businesses systems—was funded at $18.5 million in FY22.
“This year, we respectfully urge you to increase the funding for these programs to $50 million,” the letter reads. “Additionally, we request support for [the World Council of Credit Unions’] short-term and long-term relief and rebuilding efforts in the Ukraine and surrounding regions vis-à-vis credit unions and their financial infrastructure that are working to address increasing food security issues and other economic needs in that war-torn country and around the world.”
CUNA notes that the World Council’s USAID-funded Credit for Agriculture Producers (CAP) project has responded to marker needs by working with credit unions to keep institutions open since the Russian invasion began in February.
“Credit unions even during the invasion are engaged in agricultural lending as it is planting season (this will help address food insecurity issues),” the letter reads. “The CAP Project can support the rebuilding of Ukraine in a post-war environment (and during the invasion) to promote economic growth and resilience in rural areas working through its local network of credit unions and partners.
Overall, CDP activities have supported more than 500 cooperatives and credit unions with a combined savings of $495 million through the life of the program.