WASHINGTON-Before heading out of town for the July 4th recess, the Senate Appropriations Committee pumped up funding for an international economic development program under the U.S. Agency for International Development. The World Council of Credit Unions obtains funding through the Cooperative Development Program (CDP). Typically USAID determines the development program's funding. According to WOCCU, Congress demonstrated its support for the program last year by requesting that CDP be funded adequately at $8 million for fiscal year 2004. The program received less than $5 million in 2004. However, the Senate appropriation for this year is at $10 million for the CDP, but it still has to survive the Senate floor and the House. Currently, WOCCU has $3.7 million from the CDP, which began in 2005 and will continue through 2009. "Through the Cooperative Development Program, we are supporting the establishment of credit unions from the ground up in Afghanistan, training credit union volunteers in Ecuador, and adapting credit union products to the HIV/AIDS environment in Kenya – but CDP is bigger than even those significant activities," WOCCU Governmental Affairs Manager Molly Schar said. "CDP allows WOCCU to continue to provide credit union movements around the world with innovative tools to improve the lives of their members." WOCCU worked closely with CUNA and a number of state credit union leagues in a grassroots effort for the funding. "Members of Congress hearing from their own constituents how important this program is to international credit union development, how important it is to improving the lives of people in developing countries through the credit union difference, helped us make this great stride toward achieving increased funding for USAID's Cooperative Development Program," Schar commented. Schar and CUNA Domestic and International Legislative Affairs Manager Katie Herberger co-chair the Overseas Cooperative Development Council's legislative committee. The OCDC is a coalition of the eight cooperative development organizations that receive CDP funding.

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