Co-operatives launch appeals to aid earthquake victims in Nepal

Co-operatives from across the world have launched appeals to support members affected by the devastating earthquake that struck Nepal on 25 April. As death toll climbs, co-operative organisations...

Co-operatives from across the world have launched appeals to support members affected by the devastating earthquake that struck Nepal on 25 April.

As death toll climbs, co-operative organisations have been trying to contact their members in Nepal. The Co-operative Development Foundation of Canada is asking co-operators for donations to assist members of Nepal’s co-operatives and credit unions. The organisation has been supporting co-operative development in Nepal for over two decades and works closely with the Nepal Federation of Savings and Credit Co-operative Unions (NEFSCUN) and the centre for Micro-Finance Nepal (CMF).

“All of our Nepalese colleagues are safe, though some have lost family members and many are still sleeping outside,” said CDF President Cheryl Byrne. “Our hearts are with our fellow co-operators and their families as they struggle through this most difficult time.”

Credit unions provide access to financial services for members in remote regions of Nepal. Chair of NEFSCUN, Rishi Raj Ghimire, told CDF that members’ homes and credit unions had been severely damaged, which was impacting on their ability to access services.

While many relief agencies are working to meet immediate needs for food, water and shelter, CDF will be focusing on the country’s long-term recovery to enable credit unions and co-operatives to rebuild damaged buildings and restore services to their members.

Executive Director of the Canadian Co-operative Association, Michael Casey, said: “Co-operative enterprises are engines of development in their communities. CDF support will be important in restoring member businesses, jobs and income.” Mr Casey thinks co-ops, as community-based organisations, will play a very important role in the country’s recovery.

He added: “I hope we’ll see a very strong response from co-op movement around the world. This is a terrible situation, every day it gets worse.”

The World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) has also been communicating with NEFSCUN and the Association of Asian Confederation Credit Unions (ACCU) to start a fundraising campaign to bring relief to staff and members of Nepalese credit unions.

“Credit unions from around the world have expressed the desire to help our Nepalese colleagues affected by the earthquake,” said Brian Branch, WOCCU president and chief executive. “As we have seen so many times in the past, part of what makes us a global community is our commitment to help each other in times of need.”

The International Co-operative Alliance has also launched an appeal to support co-operators of Nepal. The fund will be used to assist in relief and rebuild co-operatives in Nepal.

Balu Iyer, regional director for Asia and Pacific of the International Co-operative Alliance, said: “At this time we know that some of the members in Kathmandu are safe; they are finding it difficult to move around and are still assessing the situation. We are waiting for information from them.”

The Asian Confederation of Credit Unions (ACCU) has been in contact with two of its members, the National Federation of Savings and Credit Co-operatives (NEFSCUN) and the Nepal Co-operative Bank (NCBL) to support their efforts to rebuild Savings and Credit Co-operatives (SACCOs) affected by the earthquake.

NEFSCUN’s board, who met on 28 April, initiated a Disaster Relief Fund for earthquake victims, with an initial funding of USD $10,000. They are asking credit unions and their networks to contribute to the fund.

ACCU is also raising funds to help members in NEPAL rebuild their credit unions and resume operation. With sufficient funding, the support could also be extended to rebuilding members’ houses destroyed by the earthquake.

The British movement can make donations to the International Co-operative Alliance directly or through Co-operatives UK by contacting international officer, Bernadette Turner at [email protected].

The Co-operative Group has also started a fundraising campaign to encourage colleagues, members and customers to support the Disasters Emergency Committee’s (DEC) Nepal Earthquake Appeal. The Group is promoting the DEC appeal in all of its Food stores and through digital communication channels.

According to the DEC, even small amounts can make a life-saving difference. With £5 one family can receive food for one day, while £25 can provide clean water for four families for one month.


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