MONROVIA, Liberia (4/21/15)--After a nine-month suspension due to the Ebola virus outbreak in Liberia, World Council of Credit Unions has revived its model credit union building project that aims to serve 40,000 Liberians who previously were without access to financial services.
World Council of Credit Unions, United Nations Capital Development Fund and Liberian Credit Union National Association representatives watch as a member of In God We Trust Multi-Purpose CU makes a deposit in Paynesville, Liberia. (World Council of Credit Unions Photo)
The Ebola virus, which compelled World Council to withdraw its project manager from the country, has been on the wane since March. This month, World Council Chief of Party Patrick Muriuki returned to Liberia to resume his management position.
World Council, with MasterCard Foundation funding through United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), has partnered with the Liberian Credit Union National Association (LCUNA) to rebuild the credit union sector devastated from 15 years of civil war. Representatives from each organization met recently in Monrovia to discuss next steps.
"Although we had to place the project on hold, LCUNA and its credit union members never stopped their efforts to bring in new members and provide loans to help Liberians thwart Ebola's destructive impact," said Peter Graves, World Council senior vice president for technical services. LCUNA Board Chair Saye Biyie was especially grateful to UNCDF and World Council for re-engaging in Liberia.
"This project is our heart," said Biyie. "It represents the difference--literally--between life and death for many Liberians. We are grateful to UNCDF and World Council on their decision to restart the project."
Prior to the civil wars that started in 1989, Liberia had a thriving credit union sector that World Council helped create in the 1970s. The current project's objective is to develop four regional credit unions to serve as models for the rest of the sector, and strengthen the national association so it can better serve its members.