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WASHINGTON – WOCCU, in cooperation with CUNA, worked with the appropriate congressional offices to help obtain $200 million for the U.S. Agency for International Development, which helps fund international credit union development projects. “The managers support microenterprise development programs for the poor, especially women, and urge USAID to achieve a level of $200,000,000 for these programs in fiscal year 2005,” a statement from lawmakers read. “The managers also recommend $30,000,000 be available to USAID’s Office of Microenterprise [Development] through a central funding or other appropriate mechanism for contracts, cooperative agreements and grants.” These extra funds for microenterprise efforts “would give WOCCU and other NGOs (non government organizations) better possibilities of getting new programs,” CUNA Domestic and International Legislative Affairs Manager Katie Herberger explained. WOCCU gets the majority of its development project funding under USAID’s microenterprise development. WOCCU Development Finance Manager Anna Cora Evans commented, “Given the many strains on U.S. foreign assistance, WOCCU appreciates that the appropriators have recognized funding for microfinance as an important priority for development assistance. Key offices have understood that access to financial services is essential to stimulate economic growth at the community level around the world.” “This is a long-term issue that CUNA and the World Council have been working as a way to get the World Council more flexibility in their dealings in some of these developing countries,” CUNA Senior Vice President of Governmental Affairs John McKechnie said. “It’s a pretty important initiative for international credit union development.” According to WOCCU, its credit union development programs focus on strengthening financial performance and increasing credit union outreach so that more poor and low-income people have access to financial services, like basic savings, credit, remittances and insurance. [email protected]

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