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WASHINGTON-In its strongest terms yet, Congress is pushing the U.S. Agency for International Development to put more money into its Cooperative Development Program. Congress voted to send to the White House and the president signed H.R. 3057 Nov. 14 (Public Law 109-102), making $10 million available to the Cooperative Development Program of USAID. The CDP’s funding had been at the discretion of the USAID, which was not funding the program as much as Congress had requested in letters to the agency. According to the World Council of Credit Unions, despite requests of at least $8 million per year in funding, the program received significantly less. For 2005, it got just $5.2 million. For fiscal year 2006, Congress earmarked $10 million for the CDP from the foreign aid bill The program provides grants to U.S.-based cooperative development organizations, including WOCCU, to build and strengthen credit unions and other cooperative businesses in developing countries. “This is a very significant step by Congress to show support of the kind of international cooperative development work WOCCU does,” CEO Pete Crear commented. “We can now look to USAID for opportunities to expand the scope of our own cooperative development program with the increased resources mandated by Congress.” By working with the international credit community, WOCCU opens the doors to safe and sound financial services. It is currently using a $3.7 million, five-year CDP appropriation to expand credit unions’ work in Afghanistan, Kenya, the Philippines, Ecuador and Nicaragua.

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