The initiative promotes young women and female graduates` employment through the Saving and Credit mechanism introduced by the Union of Cooperative Associations for saving and Credit "UCASC" in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
The saving and credit mechanism assists poor households in improving their living standards and income through access, management and control over the financial recourses by providing a facility for depositing savings, and an easy channel for startup income generating project, and building capacity of cooperative leaders and members.
The establishment and running of saving and credit cooperatives are based on the following principles:
- Decision making mechanism is fully controlled and implemented by its members;
- Sustainability of Business Processes: Key indicators for a successful turnaround from an organization dependent on external and donor funds to an independent cooperative organization. The system should be adequately capitalized to ensure a strong position in the market and among competitors;
- Service Quality: One of the recognized principles of the SCA is the high quality of its service;
- Balance between Business & Rural Development Mandate;
- Co-operative Principles: Cooperatives operations are transparent, equitable and independent of any undue outside interference;
- Transparency and good governance built the trust of the members in the Cooperative, and their believes in the initiative.
The initiative has achieved the followings:
- High outreach: the Union is represented in 12 cooperative associations throughout the West Bank and Gaza, representing 210 locations and villages and including 7,328 individual members, with a total (savings and shares) balance amount of $3,535,167.
- Sustainable source of income: The activity of cooperatives generates a cumulative number of 11,216 loans were disbursed through the years with a combined value of 25,732,362 USD, for the benefit of 5,997 Palestinian women as of 31/10/2013; 1319 educational loans for the benefit of the cooperative member or her offspring and 3918 loans for the startup phase of an income generating project.
- Employment opportunities: for low-income women and female graduates have been increased:
- 37 women have gained experience in accounting, banking or finances at the union or cooperatives, out of which 7 were hired after finishing their training period by the same cooperative they worked in and the rest found job opportunities outside the cooperative;
- 95% of the members achieved a private possession for the first, providing 4,239 job vacancies for women through owning income generating projects.
- 547 rural women qualified with financial skills to be a treasurer of village group taking all the financial responsibilities of her group and as loan officer.
The success of the Savings and Credit Cooperative initiative in Palestine, encouraged IFAD to transfer the experience to other countries, namely Yemen through consulting missions, project evaluation, setting up an Operational Plan, work methodologies and guides that would assist building the capacities of women involved in the project, expand services and enhance its outreach.
Partners: Union of Cooperative Associations for Saving and Credit "UCASC", ILO, IFAD
Union of Cooperative Associations for Saving and Credit "UCASC"
Palestine, Ramallah / Al Bireh
Al Ersal Street , Beside Al Jamil Center, Ashtar Building, 5th floor
Randa AbedRabbo/zein - General Director
Tel: +972 2 2413993, Mobile: + 972 98921767