28 November 2022
Supporting teachers in the developing world
Comhar Linn is a proud supporter of The Gambia Teachers’ Union Cooperative Credit Union (GTUCCU) in West Africa, one of the poorest countries in the world.
People helping people is at the cornerstone of the credit union philosophy. As one of Ireland’s largest and strongest credit unions, Comhar Linn is privileged to be in a position to offer financial assistance and guidance to a teachers’ credit union in the developing world.
Our support of The Gambia Teachers’ Union Cooperative Credit Union ensures that teachers and their families there can access fair financial services and improve their living conditions. This security enables teachers in The Gambia to do what they do best. We all know that a good teacher can inspire hope, ignite the imagination, and instill a love of learning.
Our partnership began in the 90s shortly after the credit union was founded. From humble beginnings, GTUCCU is now one of the largest and most successful in the country, with over 20,000 members, and offices in 8 regions in the country.
The lives of teachers and their families living in The Gambia have been transformed on a socio-economic level thanks to the establishment of the teachers’ credit union. From providing smaller loans to cover routine expenses to business loans for those subsidising their salaries, to loans for housing, the credit union enables teachers to access finance that might not be available to them otherwise.
The impetus for establishing GTUCCU was the unfair treatment of teachers in The Gambia when it came to accessing credit. Many financial institutions imposed unfavourable policies because of the low salaries paid to teachers. High interest rates and other charges coupled with a lack of flexibility made accessing financial support difficult or impossible for teachers.
For teachers in The Gambia, membership of GTUCCU means they can now access fair and reasonable loans from a financial service provider that does not discriminate. Teachers can continue to educate the children in their communities while financially supporting their own families.
GTUCCU aims to improve the lives of its members and community through a range of corporate and social responsibility initiatives. The credit union supports its teacher communities through health, education, and sports initiatives. The photo below shows a 15-bedroom accommodation unit built to house teachers in an impoverished settlement in the Upper River region of The Gambia.
In 2022, with monetary support and assistance from Comhar Linn, the credit union was able to upgrade its IT systems to better serve its growing membership.
The Credit Union’s General Manager, Dawda Kujabi, has asked us to pass on his sincere thanks to members of Comhar Linn for their support.
Teacher staff quarters, located in one of the country’s poorest regions – Bolibanna, funded by The Gambia Teachers’ Union Cooperative Credit Union.
GTUCCU member Baboucarr Sallah subsidises his teacher salary through his mobile phone business which he established with the help of a credit union loan.