ACCESS - Sierra Leone
ACCESS Sierra Leone
- Term: 3 Years
- Budget: $810,000
- Direct Beneficiaries: 10,000 individuals
- Indirect Beneficiaries: 45,000 individuals
- Implementation Partner: ILCUF
- Knowledge Partner: GUA
- Financial Partners: ILCUF, CDF Canada
Rice farmer Mamie Conteh still makes the tasty cakes that kept her family fed and clothed during their decade-long stay in a refugee camp during Sierra Leone’s brutal civil war. When she, her husband Morlai and their three children came home, they cleared their land and started over. Mamie turned to the Luawa Credit Union to help her open up more land for rice cultivation. A string of small loans were all the couple needed to double their harvest.
Today, Mamie is a model of success to others for her sound savings and borrowing habits.
CDF Canada is rebuilding Sierra Leone’s credit union system so more families like Mamie’s can achieve the futures they desire.
Regarded as one of the poorest nations in the world, Sierra Leone has a population of 6.1 million people, well over half of whom are living on less than $2.00 a day.
“CDF Canada is rebuilding Sierra Leone’s credit union system so more families like Mamie’s can achieve the futures they desire.”
Most Sierra Leoneans have little access to savings or lending facilities; there are very few micro-finance institutions in the country and the traditional banks are not interested in small savings. This makes it very difficult for many individuals, except those at the top strata of society, to access the credit they need to build and sustain a decent livelihood. Because they cannot access loan services from the banking system, many are forced to rely on non-traditional lenders for loans that typically offer onerous interest rates.
Credit unions offer the opportunity for communities to create and deliver financial services that are relevant to their needs, allow people to save and plan for the future, access credit for investment purposes, and improve household financial literacy.
Active in Sierra Leone since 2004, now with an office of eight staff in Freetown, CDF Canada has a goal to reach 100,000 people through 100 credit union points of service by 2025.
Despite Sierra Leone’s Ebola outbreak in 2014, which forced many credit unions to close, CDF Canada - in collaboration with its partners - increased the number of credit unions in Sierra Leone from 6 to 35, reaching 6,000 members in every region of the country, while strengthening the national body that oversees credit unions and working with the Department of Co-operatives to improve the Co-operative Law.
With the help of generous donors - this project has no government funding - our work in Sierra Leone is gaining momentum. Through CDF Canada, you ensure access to dependable, fair and accessible banking services for tens of thousands of Sierra Leone’s most vulnerable people.