KIEV, Ukraine — The Credit for Agriculture Producers (CAP) Project in the Ukraine organized and hosted an engagement visit here for international credit union experts, composed of members of World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) and the Global Women’s Leadership Network. Representatives of two national credit union associations, the All-Ukrainian Credit Union Association (AUCUA) and the Ukrainian National Association of Savings and Credit Unions (UNASCU), the credit union sector Regulator in Kiev and local credit unions from several regions in Ukraine participated in the events, according to the World Council.
The visit was led by Brian Branch, World Council president and CEO and Ewa Sierzynska, the CAP Project’s Chief of Party.
The CAP Project is a four-year project (2016-2020) funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) that is being implemented by World Council for Credit Unions with oversight and technical assistance from the Volunteers for Economic Growth Alliance (VEGA). The purpose of the project is to strengthen the credit union sector in Ukraine to improve the quality of the financial services and products offered to farmers and agribusinesses in rural areas in Ukraine, WOCCU reported.
The Forum took place in Kiev where almost 50 participants engaged on topics of strategic importance for the credit union sector in the Ukraine and brainstormed new ideas and approaches to alleviate current challenges for credit unions in Ukraine. The Forum, designed as an open dialogue for best practices, knowledge sharing and cross-cultural exchanges, served as a platform to build the international experts’ interest in the project and to further define a path for engaging volunteers on the project, a vital element in the design of the CAP Project, WOCCU explained.
Topics covered during the Forum included: legislative and regulatory reform to support the growth of the credit union sector in Ukraine, improving the national credit union associations’ services provided to their member credit unions, expanding agricultural and business lending to Ukraine’s farmers, and increasing credit union liquidity through effective savings mobilization.
The group of international experts concluded their visit in the Lviv province and participated in a roundtable discussion focused on “Strengthening of the credit union system as a key prerequisite for the development of small and medium-sized agricultural production.”
Participants spoke with representatives of the credit union sector and local authorities and learned about the unique model of cooperation between credit unions and local authorities that was established in Lviv oblast to boost rural development and provide affordable financing to agribusinesses in the region, WOCCU said.
Other topics discussed included opportunities to increase liquidity and lending capabilities, leverage capital and mobilize savings.
During their stay in Lviv, the international credit union experts visited Anisia and the Vygoda credit unions, as well as two of their borrowers – local farmers cultivating agricultural plots and raising dairy cows. According to WOCCU, these local farmers told impressive stories that revealed their hard work, motivation and success as farming families in rural Ukraine would not be possible without the support of their local credit unions – the only credit institutions in their localities.
Moving forward, WOCCU said the CAP project will facilitate training for partner credit unions across Ukraine by engaging with international credit union professionals to provide the training on savings mobilization, marketing for new members, and in developing effective products for agriculture producers.