...Migrants in Peru and Ecuador
USAID/WOCCU Economic Inclusion Project lead discusses role of cooperatives at 2023 IMPACT Conference
WASHINGTON, D.C.—World Council of Credit Unions’ Economic Inclusion Project (EIP) Chief of Party Oscar Guzman on Wednesday told attendees of the 2023 Cooperative IMPACT Conference that cooperatives play an integral role in the socioeconomic integration of Venezuelan migrants in Peru and Ecuador.
Participating in a roundtable discussion on “Cooperatives and Social Inclusion” at the annual event hosted by NCBA CLUSA, Guzman discussed EIP’s approach to partnering with credit unions and other cooperatives to give Venezuelans more opportunities for both economic and social inclusion in their new countries of residence.
“They (cooperatives) realize that there’s a turnover of their older staff in Peru and Ecuador and they need people. And there are Venezuelans—thousands of Venezuelans—professional, with experience, with the capacity and skills to join the cooperatives and the credit unions,” said Guzman. “So, we started with them on joint platforms, for example, not only to bring together the demand and supply of labor, but also to give credit and mentoring to the Venezuelans too.”
Guzman said partnerships with credit unions and other cooperatives in both countries are paying dividends, not only for EIP, but potentially for millions of Venezuelans.
“We work with 10 financial cooperatives or credit unions in both countries and now, we see banks, microfinance institutions and others approaching us to say, ‘you know, we see this as an opportunity.’ And now that the credit unions opened the vision, the opportunity, those entities will serve other migrants and refugees. Because we as a project have served 110,000 (Venezuelans), but there still are millions of people that need access to financial services,” said Guzman.
Funded by USAID, the Economic Inclusion Project prioritizes the socioeconomic integration of migrants, refugees and local populations to improve living conditions for them and their families in a sustainable manner, positively impacting the harmonious development of society and the economic development of Peru, Ecuador and greater Latin America.
Guzman was one of several staff members who participated in the Conference, with WOCCU also represented on a Wednesday afternoon panel discussion on how cooperatives leverage digital technologies to meet member needs.
NCBA CLUSA’s Cooperative IMPACT Conference is an annual event that provides an unparalleled platform to reenergize the cooperative movement and galvanize its champions around building the next economy.
World Council of Credit Unions is the global trade association and development platform for credit unions. World Council promotes the sustainable development of credit unions and other financial cooperatives around the world to empower people through access to high quality and affordable financial services. World Council advocates on behalf of the global credit union system before international organizations and works with national governments to improve legislation and regulation. Its technical assistance programs introduce new tools and technologies to strengthen credit unions' financial performance and increase their outreach.
World Council has implemented 300+ technical assistance programs in 90 countries. Worldwide, 87,914 credit unions in 118 countries serve 393 million people. Learn more about World Council's impact around the world at www.woccu.org.