Ten US organisations have received funding from the government to promote co-operative development.
The US Agency for International Development (USAID) granted $60m (£46.04) over five years (2019 – 2023) for the Cooperative Development Program (CDP). Dating back to 1962, the programme enables US co-ops and their members to work on projects with co-operatives in developing countries.
The US Overseas Cooperative Development Council (OCDC) and its member organisations received funding to expand their work on agriculture, finance and health.
Paul Hazen, OCDC executive director, said: “The CDP is the only programme within USAID that is focused on co-operatives and the programme’s impact has been significant, lifting millions of people from poverty by leveraging private funding to amplify public funds.”
The eight OCDC members who received funding are Cooperative Resources International, Equal Exchange, Global Communities, HealthPartners, Land O’Lakes International, NCBA CLUSA, NRECA International and World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU). Frontier Cooperative Herbs also received a grant from USAID.
In addition, OCDC was granted $6.9m through the CDP to research the impact and effectiveness of co-operatives in international development.
One of the OCDC members to benefit from funding, WOCCU, is running a co-operative development project on Technology and Innovation for Financial Inclusion (CDP TIFI). The initiative will increase sustainable lending to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) by deploying WOCCU’s SME Lending Toolkit and building a global knowledge-sharing platform.
For this project, WOCCU is working with a number of regional partners – the Confederation of Financial Institutions of West Africa (Confédération des Institutions Financières de l’Afrique de ‘Ouest, CIF) in Burkina Faso; the National Federation of Savings and Credit Cooperatives (Federación Nacional de Cooperativas de Ahorro y Crédito, FENACOAC) in Guatemala; and the Kenya Union of Savings and Credit Co-operatives (KUSCCO).
Land O’Lakes International Development was awarded funding to support new agricultural capacity-building and food safety programmes in Georgia, Egypt, Bangladesh, Lebanon, Rwanda and Malawi.
John Ellenberger, executive director of Land O’Lakes International Development, said: “Land O’Lakes International Development welcomes the ongoing partnership of USAID and USDA as we continue leveraging the expertise of a nearly century-old, farmer-owned co-operative to improve livelihoods and enhance agriculture worldwide.
“We’re excited to build collaborative efforts for international economic development that unite host country agricultural stakeholders, Land O’Lakes, Inc. farmers and technical staff, government leaders and academic experts to maximise results.”