Resilience Initiative Targeting Vulnerable Populations Launched in Ukraine
Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions (WFCU) this week tapped its Ukrainian Credit Union Displacement Fund for $500,000 to launch a new credit union lending program aimed at assisting vulnerable populations and boosting sustainable development in Ukraine.
Working in cooperation with the USAID/WOCCU Credit for Agriculture Producers (CAP) Project, WFCU launched its Resilience Initiative after signing agreements with two United (Central) Credit Unions (UCUs) in Ukraine. The UCUs will pass the $500,000 on to individual credit unions, so they can provide loans aimed at stimulating rural and agricultural business recovery and growth and supporting vulnerable populations amid Russia’s ongoing war against Ukraine. Resilience Initiative lending will target:
- Businesses owned by women, or by those who were either internally displaced or left the country due to the war and have now returned to Ukraine.
- Sustainable finance for micro-, small- and medium-sized businesses located in rural areas.
The structure of this program is similar to that of the $1 million USAID/WFCU Liquidity Fund that was set up in 2021 and has proven to be an efficient means of boosting agricultural lending through credit unions in rural Ukrainian communities. As of April 30, 2023, credit unions had disbursed 954 agricultural loans totaling $2.3 million from the Liquidity Fund under WFCU and CAP Project supervision. Six hundred twenty-one of those loans, totaling $1.46 million, have been issued since Russia launched its full-scale invasion in February 2022.
With credit unions well-positioned to address the significant financial challenges facing Ukrainians, including those internally displaced or returning from abroad and those who stayed in their communities devastated by war, it is critical to provide incentive programs and additional funds to credit unions to share risks and build long-lasting relationships, especially with new businesses and members.
Since the start of Russia’s invasion, WFCU has implemented seven relief programs totaling over $645,000 that have focused on providing immediate assistance to the Ukrainian credit unions and their members. For more information, please see the WFCU Relief Results report.