Woccu steps in to protect Ukrainian credit union staff from Covid-19

The funds will buy PPE to keep colleagues and members safe during face-to-face transactions

Teams from the World Council of Credit Unions (Woccu) are working to keep frontline Ukrainian credit union workers safe during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Credit unions in Ukraine do not provide any digital or remote services, so most transactions require face-to-face interactions between members and staff.

This prompted the government to order a temporary shutdown of credit unions in April. But this presented the country with serious problems – making it impossible for the country’s key agriculture sector to access affordable financing for next years’ crops – and the credit unions reopened later that month.

This followed a joint advocacy effort that from Woccu, the Ukrainian National Association of Savings and Credit Unions, the All-Ukrainian Association of Credit Unions, the national regulator and other stakeholders.

To help the sector operate safely, the Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions is channeling a Project Storm Break through its Credit for Agriculture Producers (CAP) Project, to buy masks, gloves and other PPE for staff and members of its partner credit unions in the country.

“The whole point of our Project Storm Break fundraising drive in 2019 was to ensure we could get ahead of the next disaster and provide support to credit unions as soon as it hit,” said Mike Reuter, executive director of the Worldwide Foundation.

“While we may have been preparing for an earthquake or weather-related disaster, we believe it is vital to utilise this fund during the Covid-19 pandemic with such a global need to keep credit union employees safe.”

Funded by USAID, CAP is building the capacity of 23 partner credit unions in Ukraine to increase access to finance for rural and agricultural micro, small and medium enterprises and expand outreach.

All 23 credit unions will receive personal protective equipment as a result of this grant agreement.