Magazine article Rural Cooperatives

Promoting Cooperative Development around the Globe

Magazine article Rural Cooperatives

Promoting Cooperative Development around the Globe

Article excerpt

U.S. cooperatives have been involved in economic development in under-developed countries for more than 60 years. Their work grew out of the conviction that, having helped millions in this country, cooperatives can be adapted to help low-income people everywhere.

Nine of the most active U.S. organizations in international cooperative development work together as the U.S. Overseas Cooperative Development Council. They are: ACDI-VOCA, Global Communities, Communications Cooperative International, Cooperative Resources International, HealthPartners, Land O'Lakes International Development, NCBA CLUSA, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association International and the World Council of Credit Unions.

OCDC members carry out the largest portfolio of cooperative development programs in the world. They oversee multi-year projects in about 100 countries in Africa, Latin America, Eastern Europe and Asia. Together, these projects support cooperatives serving 130 million people. OCDC's mission is to promote effective international cooperative development. One major initiative, for example, studied development projects worldwide to determine the characteristics most likely to produce a thriving cooperative in a challenging marketplace. Another identified three pathways--economic, democratic and social--for cooperatives to contribute to transformational change in developing countries.

A more recent paper looked at ways to link producer cooperatives in poor countries with food cooperatives in the United States and other developed countries.

OCDC's roots extend to the 1960s, with the Kennedy administration's support for cooperatives as part of land reform in Latin America. After studying cooperative development, the U.S Agency for International Development recommended creation of an advisory committee that included national cooperative associations, the Catholic Church and labor unions. …

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