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Access to Credit Unions for Communities to Embrace and Promote Sustainable Development in Sierra Leone (ACCESS)

Women farmers learning about finance and savings

Cooperative Development Organisation

Implementing Partners and Organisations

The Irish League of Credit Unions International Development Foundation (ILCUF)

Period of Implementation

July 2020 - May 2021

Geographic scope

Africa: Sierra Leone


$ 1,501,990
€ 1 376 770


Multilateral Aid: The Irish League of Credit Unions International Development Foundation (ILCUF)


Banking & Financial Services, Education, Rural Development

Type of Activity

Governance and Organizational Strengthening, Institutional Building and Policy Dialogue, Training & Capacity Building


The majority of the population in Sierra Leone has little access to savings or lending facilities. Only two deposits take Mutual Fund Investment (MFIs) in the country, and the banks are not interested in small savings. Limited access to financial services makes it very difficult for most of the population to access credit for productive or entrepreneurial purposes. Credit unions offer the opportunity for communities to create and deliver financial services relevant to their needs. Credit Unions help people save and plan for their future, access credit for investment purposes, and improve household financial literacy.

Project Objectives

ACCESS, a 3-year project,  aims to improve the financial capacity of women, youth, and men throughout rural and urban Sierra Leone through access to financial services.

In phase two of the project, the aim is to build on previous experience and the capacity of credit union leaders (managers and directors) to meet the requirements of solid financial institutions. The project will also promote the establishment of new credit unions in high potential areas in rural and urban Sierra Leone and support the growth and development of their national apex.

The project also aimed to build the capacity of the Department of Co-operatives to carry out responsible supervision and promote an enabling environment for credit union growth.

Impact on SDGs

SDG4 - Quality Education
SDG5 - Gender Equality
SDG8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth

Direct beneficiaries

Individuals: 10000

Key Tags

Education, Entrepreneurship, Gender