Australian international aid organisation Cufa Limited has merged with the Foresters Group in a bid to expand its services and tackle financial stress in Australia on a greater scale.
Cufa Limited predominantly runs micro-enterprise, employment, and financial literacy programs in the Asia-Pacific region. The Foresters Group, a certified B Corporation, is a micro-loan organisation providing emergency finance to low-income households.
The Foresters Group will continue to operate under its own name but will be governed by a Cufa Limited majority board, with one board member representing Foresters.
Dr. Peter Mason, Cufa CEO, said as the two organisations were so similar in their mission, it made sense to come together as one.
“It is a union of two like-minded organisations, both having a strong social impact on economically disadvantaged individuals and communities through providing financial services and education with the aim of preventing people plunging into a spiralling cycle of debt,” Mason said.
He told Pro Bono News it was a chance to scale up the work the Foresters Group was already doing to help disadvantaged Australians.
“There’s a number of opportunities in Australia, and there’s a number of groups that are underserved, as there are in the Asia-Pacific region,” he said.
An Australian Senate Report, released earlier this year, found that nearly 2.1 million Australian are under severe or high financial stress on a day-to-day basis.
It also found that low financial literacy among consumers is a serious issue and many are unaware or have limited awareness of other emergency finance lending products.
Mason said combining the two organisations’ resources was a more efficient and effective way of delivering services to the people who needed them.
“I would argue that there are too many charities in Australia doing very similar things, and we have a responsibility to donors to scale up and look for opportunities where there’s commonality to merge,” he said.
“I think there’s a need for some rationalisation of the NFP sector…because this leads to a duplication of service provision costs, which is a little crazy.”